Photo by Bob Doran
The migration to the meadow overlooking the expanse of Monterey Bay started around 3:30 p.m. – it’s now approaching the magic time and there’s got to be hundreds of us. We’ve got pipes and blunts and jays to smoke and some guy even brought out his 6-foot bong. The cops are around the edge of the crowd, but they’re just watching us from a distance – they know they are powerless to stop the celebration. We’re gathering in the spirit of something we all share, a love for an herb grown for thousands of years that can be sacred, medicinal and recreational all in one. We’re playing drums, dancing and blowing big puffs of smoke into the sky, the school mascot Sammy the Slug takes a huge rip from the bong and it’s 4:20 p.m. on 4/20.
By now the gathering of the Waldos, a group of high school students who met to smoke at 4:20 p.m. in San Rafael, California, has reached legendary proportions. The powerful force fueling the legend of the high school group and manifesting what 4/20 has become today began with the promotional efforts of former High Times editor Steve Hagar.
“When I first heard about the ceremony at Mt. Tamalpais. I had lived through the ’60s, I’d been in Haight Ashbury during the whole heyday. I knew that Mt. Tamalpais was Mt. Fugi of the whole Bay Area,” Hagar says. “I knew it was a sacred mountain for the hippie culture. So, when I heard there was a ceremony going on at April 20th at 4:20 in the afternoon, I said look, this is evidence of the spiritual powers of the plant manifesting.”
Through Hagar’s various channels of influence including the cannabis cups and the Freedom Fighters, a group of “psychedelic revolutionary soldiers” who utilized singers, dancers and drums to fight for cannabis freedom, he spread the message of 4/20. Hagar also set out on a 14-year speaking tour at college campuses throughout the nation.
“I went to the biggest campuses in the county and at every single campus I asked the students to start a legalization group and to have an event on 4/20,” Hagar said. “It’s about responsible use.”
For Hagar 4:20 p.m. should remain a time of day to light up – rather than a push for profit or an excuse for the youth to get blitzed.
“If you’re a college student and you’re doing breakfast dabs and then going off to take your calculus exam, you’re kind of waiting your life. Unless you’re getting straight As you’re not doing it right,” Hagar said. “It’s like tea time, if you wait until then, you’ve already done all your faxing and your filing, you’ve taken care of your business stuff and now it’s time to reflect and be creative. Then it becomes a tool. It doesn’t become something that is dragging you down, it becomes an asset to your life.”
Gatherings and movements throughout time, Hagar says, have been fueled by cannabis.
“Cannabis use was always a part of this. Cannabis use starts in Congo Square. Louis Armstrong smokes pot every day of his life. Marijuana is driving these ceremonies. It’s an enhancement factor to the ceremonies, which are about what? Creativity, improvisation and the unity of all peoples.”
While he’s not against the parties Hagar has a distinct message for those celebrating 4/20 today.
“You have to just start thinking about harmonizing with all people, being creative, being improvisational and channeling those inner energies, cannabis can help you do that,” he says.
How are you celebrating 4/20? Share with us in the comments.