In case you didn't already know it, April 20 is a kind of high holy day for marijuana legalization enthusiasts and that makes today a fine time to blog a marijuana-related record. Among other places, there will be rallies today in San Francisco, Denver, New York City, and Washington D. C., where someone named Jonny Apple Weed will address the crowd at 4PM.
Basil McLaughlin's "Turn Off What Marijuana Turned On" might not exactly be a good philosophical fit for the crowds gathered to encourage more permissive marijuana laws, but here's hoping that we can all enjoy some first-rate propaganda.
The etymological experts tell us that 420 became short hand for marijuana thanks to a group of California high school students from San Rafael who used the term as code language for "time to get high." I'm generally a decade or two behind the slang curve, so I had no idea 420 was code for anything until I ordered a beer a few years back at my friend DeWitt's wedding reception in the nearby town of Athens, Georgia. The guy standing next to me at the bar, in town for the big event from Boston, cocked his head and looked at me funny when he heard me ask the bartender for a "420". "What did you just order?" he asked me in a tone of disbelief. I explained that I'd asked for a bottle of a local beer known as Sweetwater 420. When I followed up with a question of my own about his curiosity, he explained that 420 was widely known as shorthand for marijuana.
I'm tempted to assume that now that I know the term, it's already passe and no longer in use but for once that doesn't appear to be the case.
A few more country records about marijuana can be found over here.