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CULTURE’s Guide to 420 Day

By Hans Fink and James Lang

With cannabis legalization coming up for a vote in California for the first time in 37 years, flying your colors in suppo




By Hans Fink and James Lang

With cannabis legalization coming up for a vote in California for the first time in 37 years, flying your colors in support of cannabis this 420 Day has rarely been so important. Here’s a handful of suggestions of things to do and places to go on April 20 to show your love of the leaf.



Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon

Well ahead of its time and with endless texture in its soundscapes—there’s a reason why it’s one of the best-selling albums ever.


Bob Marley’s Exodus

When you think of marijuana and music, inevitably you think of Bob Marley. His legacy lives on in Exodus, which proved to be a posthumous sleeper hit. We hope you like jammin’, too.


Stephen Marley’s Mind Control

Bob Marley had many children, several of whom grew up to be successful musicians. While Stephen Marley is one of the more overshadowed of these, Mind Control remains an intensely creative and versatile reggae album and worth a listen—several listens, actually.


Cypress Hill’s Black Sunday

The legendary Latino hip-hop outfit has produced many hits, but nothing matches the energy and back-to-back stony track listings of Black Sunday. It’s a classic album that fans of both rock and rap can enjoy.


Blakroc’s I Can Transform You

Not a marijuana-themed album by any stretch of the imagination, the awesome grooves and textures of the Black Keys—combined with an amazing line up of guest MCs—make it impossible not to lose yourself while listening to it. Add the magic green ingredient, and you have an unforgettable listening experience.



Half Baked (1998)

A side-splittingly funny look at the many sizes, shapes and colors of cannabis smokers—Snoop Dogg’s appearance as the pothead who magically appears the moment you light up is worth the entire rental fee.


Reefer Madness (1936)

What do you call a piece of anti-marijuana propaganda that’s so astonishingly, over-the-top bad that it sent million screaming into the arms of marijuana? We call it a must-see. Play it, baby. Faster! Faster!


Up in Smoke (1978)

Quite possibly the funniest film ever made, this ground-breaking send-up by Cheech & Chong changed the public’s perception of pot (from a deadly poison to mere whacky tobacky) in just 86 screen minutes.


The Union: The Business Behind Getting High (2007)

The DVD market is nigh saturated with pro-cannabis documentaries. This one is among the best. Brett Harvey and Adam Scorgie pull back the curtain on British Columbia’s pot trade, from the farmers and bud tenders all the way to consumers in the U.S.


The Untouchables (1987):

Nowhere in this thrilling gangster tale by director Brian De Palma is marijuana so much as mentioned. So why watch it on 420 Day? Because it perfectly captures the chaos, hypocrisy and corruptive nature of America’s other ill-considered experiment with prohibition—the 18th Amendment, which banned alcohol and opened the door for Al Capone.



Griffith Observatory’s Samuel Oschin Planetarium: Back in the day, the Laserium show at L.A.’s historic Griffith Observatory was the venue for tilting your head back and watching your sensimilla dreams come alive. That particular trip is no more, but the observatory’s newly renovated Samuel Oschin Planetarium is alive and kicking with mind-ripping shows beamed up every 60 to 90 minutes. Visit for more info.


The Huntington: There are just so many things to do and see at this world-renowned cultural Mecca in San Marino (near Pasadena) that you probably won’t get through it all in a single day. We suggest you start your 420 Day with a stroll through the heartbreakingly beautiful botanical gardens, enjoy a light but satisfying lunch in the tea room and then continue your journey of personal enrichment by enjoying one of the most venerated art and library collections on the planet. Go to for hours, admission prices and other info.


Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanical Garden: What better way to celebrate nature’s great gift than in the presence of nature’s other great gifts? The L.A. Arboretum in Arcadia is one of the region’s best-kept secrets, with 127 acres of lovingly cultivated wonders to discover and explore—including the Mayberg Waterfall, Grace Kallam Perennial Garden and Queen Anne Cottage. Smoking is forbidden on the grounds, so choose your medication method accordingly. Find out more at


Huntington City Beach: There once was a time when cannabis lovers could gather round the fire rings that sprinkle Surf City’s 3.5-mile stretch of public beach and celebrate 420 Day straight through to 421 Day. Times have changed—a 10 p.m. curfew is strictly enforced and smoking and drinking are now verboten. But the fire rings are still there (make sure to arrive early to stake one  out), and nearby Main Street offers innumerable options for having fun besides just kicking back on the sand. Check out for more info.


Disneyland: While only the most confused cannabis enthusiast would consider walking about Disneyland with a joint (there really is a working jail cell in the Magic Kingdom, though officials prefer to call it a “holding area”), this is the place for which edibles were made. Trust us: You’ve never seen funny until you’ve seen Critter Country and Mickey’s Toontown while medicated. Just remember—this is a family destination, so be respectful to others.



Weeds: While not exactly a pro-cannabis comedy (the herb often seems to cause the show’s main characters more problems than it solves), this Showtime hit does proceed from the theory that everyone smokes pot. Since 2005, Weeds has touched on just about every major issue confronting Southern California’s cannabis industry, including the importance of not hiring a vulgar pot fiend with zero redeeming qualities (played with relish by Kevin Nealon) as your dispensary partner.


Entourage: Marijuana may cause nothing but headaches for the characters on Weeds, but it brings nothing but good times and sweet relief for A-list actor Vincent Chase (played by Adrian Grenier) and his crew in this smash series by HBO. Cannabis is a constant prop on Entourage, but rarely is it a given episode’s main focus—the young stars smoke it recreationally, and then go on about their business. Its realistic portrayal of recreational pot smoking makes it a must-see on 420 Day.


That ‘70s Show: Sadly defunct but widely available in syndication, this zany sitcom from Fox never showed characters actually smoking pot. Instead, episodes feature the hilarious device of tracking a circle of stoned-out teens—from the point of view of the bong in the middle of the circle. It’s the perfect metaphor for America’s attitude toward cannabis in the ‘70s, when everyone was lighting up but few were willing to admit there was anything going on.


South Park: Merciless in its treatment of sacred cows and fearless in its choice of subject matter, South Park is never funnier than when it trots out Towelie, the adorable bioengineered towel that simply can’t stop getting high (“God, I have no idea what I’m doing.”). It’s even funnier when we’re reminded that Towelie was manufactured by the U.S. government.


American Idol: Between what we want from this Fox talent show (watching contestants perform and get voted on or off the show) and when we actually get what we want is a vast sea of dullness, from endless product endorsements to ‘70s-style variety acts that were out of fashion even in the ‘70s. Fortunately, we have medical marijuana to help make getting through all the tedium that much easier.

…And finally, Four Good Ways to Wind Down Your 420 Day

Four words – Ding Dongs and milk:  Nowhere in all of creation are two food items more perfectly suited for satisfying the munchies than a box of  Hostess Ding Dongs (frozen, if possible – if not, room temperature) and a half-gallon of ice-cold milk.

Re-read The Emperor Wears No Clothes:  The book that exposed the truth of how and why cannabis was criminalized in the U.S. remains a fast and fascinating read.  It’s the perfect way to cap your 420 Day.

Write a letter to a friend in need:  In the Lompoc Federal Correctional Complex, about 175 miles northwest of Los Angeles, sits Federal Inmate No. 90157-011 – otherwise known as cannabis advocate Charles “Eddy” Lepp.  Eddy, who isn’t scheduled for release until 2018, would love to hear from you –and can be reached by writing:  Charles Edward Lepp, No. 90157-011, FCI Lompoc, Federal Correctional Institution, 3600 Guard Road, Lompoc, CA 93436

Plan your next big 420 Day celebration:  It’s never too early to get a jump on the festivities.