"Pot" Appreciation Day

The twentieth day of April is the busiest day in a marijuana users' calendar.

By Chris Roberts
|  Friday, Apr 20, 2012  |  Updated 6:16 AM PDT
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"Pot" Appreciation Day

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In October 2011, the North County Collective closed its doors. The NCTimes reported it was the last of the medicinal marijuana dispensaries in Oceanside. Lance Rogers, a lawyer for North County Collective, said the dispensary ran out of money to continue to challenge the city in court.

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The holiest of days in many a marijuana users' calendar is upon us: The 2Oth day of April, the hallowed 4/20.

There's much on in the Bay Area today to mark "the stoners' Christmas," as the day has been dubbed.

But there's also much more going on than the annual smoke-outs at 20 minutes past four in the afternoon at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, the University of California Santa Cruz campus, and essentially anywhere else marijuana users are known to congregate (read: anywhere). 

The time -- 4:20 p.m. -- is important. In the 1970s, a small group of hippie stoners at San Rafael High School would go out every day at that time to smot pot, and their "club"  name just stuck.

Today, activists are asked to turn out for a protest in Oakland at the downtown Federal Building at 11:30 a.m. Participants should congregate at 1301 Clay Street, where the California chapter of NORML -- the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws -- will agitate and educate in response to the Justice Department's crackdown on state-legal medical marijuana dispensaries.

Following the protest, NORML is hosting a film festival at 3 p.m. at Oaksterdam University's Student Union, 1915 Broadway. Screenings of "A NORML LIfe," "California 90420," and "The Green Goddess" will go on back-to-back-to-back. The films cover activism, the Oaksterdam University saga, and the "almost-true" tale of several Northern California natives who went to Switzerland to grow... well, you get the idea.

On the other side of the Bay, you can attend Americans for Safe Access's fundraiser at El Rio in San Francisco. From 4 p.m. until 6 p.m., all drinks sold at the 3158 Mission Street bar will benefit the medical marijuana patients' advocacy group. Admission is free.

There's music aplenty for those more interested in sounds than sights or smells.

On Treasure Island, the Womp 4/20 Music Festival is happening.

For sights and sounds, The Roxie Theater on 16th Street in San Francisco is screening Dark Side of Oz, for those too lazy to cue up their copy of "Dark Side of the Moon" to the "Wizard of Oz."

Hang with comedian Ngaio Bealum and pot legend Ed Rosenthal at the Performance Art Institute in San Francisco from 8 p.m. until the wee hours. Comedy, music, and much more.

But in Marin County, where the 4/20 phenomenon began at San Rafael High in 1971, an event of a different nature is scheduled. Experts will hold forth on "4/20" and the myriad risks posed by drugs, alcohol, and other mischief aong Marin youth at 7 p.m. Friday at the Marin County Office of Education, 1111 Las Gallinas Ave. in San Rafael.

Stay safe.

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