The 420 Rule and Stoner Culture

The 420 Rule and Stoner Culture

It wasn’t so very long ago that a kid getting caught with some weed stashed in his bedroom would lead to dramatic family interventions, as well as a serious round of electroshock therapy. There was a definite tendency to overreact, thinking of marijuana in the same terms as other harder drugs, when in truth you can actually do a lot more damage to yourself, and others, by throwing back a six pack of Bud and a 40 of Jack. The demonization of marijuana led the people who regularly used it to be viewed as slackers, stoners, and a black mark on society, which in turn led to a whole new subculture, with the perceived outsiders banding together against “the man”.

That seems like a long time ago now, and many will argue that the reason that the perception has changed so drastically is with the social acceptance of the 420 rule. In the days and hours leading up to 4.20 pm on April 20th, the airwaves and water coolers of the world are filled with talk about the impending big moment. Regular smokers get excited about their “national holiday,” while those who only partake casually, or have never even tried weed, decide that maybe they should join in on the fun. The fact that many people actually now look at 420 as a fun day should be enough to tell you how far marijuana has come from the back rooms of San Francisco head shops.

This should be a glorious moment for stoners of the world, but in reality many of them are grumbling that their culture has somehow been infiltrated, and a major part of what made the whole scene so cool has now been forever lost. People are no longer trying to hide the fact that the smoke weed, and it’s easy to rhyme off any number of big name celebrities and people in elected office who are quite happy to tell you about their latest trip. Perhaps more worryingly for the average smoker, their fun pastime is now being talked about in government circles, with the prospect of raking in even more tax money making the legalization of marijuana a hot button item.

That whole businesslike approach to marijuana, as well as the groundswell of support for its legalization, has gone a long way to taking the fun out of smoking. A big part of the allure was to be able to actually score a bag of weed, and then get to enjoy it without being caught. There was a certain thrill involved, and that loses a lot of it cachet when you hear the latest teen pop sensation talk about how they love to relax after a lip synched show by smoking some weed. It strange to think that the 420 rule, which was introduced to bring together marijuana lovers, may very well be the one thing that has helped create a world that hardcore smokers may end up hating.

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