The annual event takes its name from the American format of today’s date, 4/20, but originated in San Rafael, California, in the early 1970s.
Pronounced four-twenty, it began as a codeword for smoking marijuana used by a group of five high school pupils who would meet up at that time in the afternoon.
Marijuana is now legal for adults in 16 US states and Washington DC, while medical marijuana is legal in 36.
In the UK, medical use of cannabis when prescribed by a registered, specialist doctor was legalised in the in November, 2018.
But it’s illegal to grow, distribute or sell cannabis here and doing so can attract a penalty of up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.
As cannabis users across the globe mark 420 today we took to Facebook to ask our readers whether they think the Class B drug should be legalised in the UK.
It’s completely illegal to smoke cannabis anywhere in Britain – including on your own property – but it is believed to be the nation’s most popular illegal drug.
Should recreational cannabis be legalised in the UK? Here’s what our readers said
:: Krupesh Haria: ‘Yes it should… The worst fact I can think of that people should realise is that the United Kingdom is the biggest exporter of medicinal cannabis in the world. We grow and export huge volumes from this country, which then is used for medicinal and recreational purposes in other countries. People living in this country are barely able to access the huge benefits that multiple cannabis-based drugs offer, yet we are happy to make large volumes of money whilst letting other people around the world benefit. Makes zero sense.’
:: Joanne Hutchinson: ‘No. But should be available on prescription as a painkiller for those with arthritis, MS etc.’
:: Michelle Littlewood: ‘Yes. I’ve never quite understood why cannabis is illegal but alcohol isn’t.’
:: Karl Fellows: ‘No, but I personally think it should be only used for medical prescription uses only and people who actually need it.’
:: Scott Noyce: ‘Absolutely. It’s disgusting that people who use a plant to self-medicate are considered to be criminals. We should be allowed a choice especially when the drugs the government pushes on us, drink etc, [are] way, way worse.’
:: David Foster: ‘No. Cannabis is like alcohol. As soon as you legalise it you will have more idiots driving around under the influence. The accident rate will increase 10 fold. This would be the problem. Fines need to be increased.’
:: Kieran Groizard: ‘[The government] could [legalise it], but then you’d have to consider vendors and suppliers. The thing is, our government likes to tax absolutely everything they can. Either the average price from legal vendors will skyrocket due to said tax, like alcohol and cigarettes, or people will continue to buy it from dealers at a much cheaper rate. It’s difficult for the government to balance it in this country, they can legalise recreational use but how would they police it?’
:: Brian Foxon: ‘I would say yes. Legalise it. I think the problem being that the government won’t have complete control over it. And this is the reason it won’t be. They can have “official” farmers who will grow it for taxable sales. Yet people will still be able to grow their own, and this is where the problem will be and there is no distinction from taxable and nontaxable weed.’
:: Sian-Marie Dale: ‘It’s better pain relief than morphine. I know, I gave it to my dying mum when morphine no longer helped the pain cancer was causing her body. Once the government can tax it they’ll all be petitioning for a chill room.’
:: Alex Carroll: ‘I’d much rather see a mellowed out, giggly stoner than an abusive, loud and violent drunk. If one’s legal, the other has got to be.’
:: Debbie Mills: ‘NO.’