For some of us, April 20th might seem like an average, run of the mill day. However, anyone who is familiar with the weed community or is friends with a pot smoker knows that this date holds much more significance to a certain group of people. Also known as 420, April 20th is collectively known as the national holiday for smoking and sharing marijuana. Take into account that the recreational use of this drug is now legal in several U.S. States, and you may begin to see why this is especially significant now. So it may come as no surprise to learn that car accidents occur more frequently on April 20th at approximately 4:20 PM. How do people celebrate this holiday and what is its relevance to these statistics? Is this date purely coincidental? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
420 Around the World
The term “420” originated in California in the 1970s, where a group of high school students gathered together to share and smoke marijuana at 4:20 PM (after school had ended). Since then, April 20th (4/20) has become the official date for a marijuana holiday, of sorts. From its meager roots, this holiday has transformed into a global celebration, spanning countries including England, Scotland, and Australia. In 2017 along, the following celebrations took place over the “weekend” of weed smoking:
- National Cannabis Festival (United States): celebration and educational portal held in Washington D.C.
- Tokeactivity Social – Flower Power (United States): a female-oriented music festival including activities like flower-crown construction and 420 pipe exchange in Portland, Oregon
- 420 in the Park (United States): an event held in Golden Gate Park that was permitted by the City of San Francisco
- London 420 Rally (England): an underground event that protests the banning of marijuana in London
- Hempstock 2017 (Scotland): 6th annual event and music performance in Glasgow
- Free Cannabis Community 420 Picnic (Australia): a festival held in Sydney that advertises a hemp-rolling competition and prizes
Driving While High
Based on 25 years of collected statistics, researchers have confirmed the holiday (like the drug) can wreak havoc on users. Studies proved that motor vehicle accidents increased by 12% on April 20th after 4:20 PM, in stark contrast to MVAs in the weeks preceding the holiday. Even more disturbing, young adults 20 years and younger accounted for a 38% increase in car accidents. Doctors associated with the study proclaim that this is directly linked to drug-impaired driving.
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