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The high holiday for smoking pot: 4/20 festivities held worldwide

At 4:20pm, thousands around the world participated in a synchronized smoke-off

cannabis plant
This year’s 4/20 is the first since cannabis was legalized in Canada

A cloud of smoke wafted across cities worldwide Saturday with the celebration of 4/20 – the unofficial holiday of marijuana – culminating in a synchronized smoke at 4:20pm.

Held on April 20 annually, the digits 4/20 have become synonymous with cannabis culture, as the date is written in the North American calendar as 4/20.

Vancouver, Toronto, Chicago, New York, Phoenix. Name the city and there was a 4/20 celebration going on Saturday. 

READ: Buds & Duds: Canopy stock soars as it strikes mammoth $3.4B deal to buy Acreage after US federal legalization

In Canada, it’s the beginning of a new dawn in some ways, as this year is the first celebration since cannabis became legalized in October.

Why did 4/20 become synonymous with cannabis?

Reportedly, the term originated in northern California in the 1970s, as five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20pm to smoke marijuana.

‘‘We thought it was a joke then,’’ said David Reddix, a filmmaker and retired CNN cameraman, told the Associated Press. ‘‘We still do.’’

These days, it’s gone mainstream, with 4:20pm being weed’s equivalent of happy hour.

Vancouver famous for its blazing annual event

Vancouver is famous for its annual 4/20 event, which started in Vancouver in 1995, led by Marc Emery, the self-titled “prince of pot” as a protest calling for the legalization of cannabis. 

This year's event drew 60,000 people in Vancouver, more than last year.

Cannabis activist and event spokeswoman Jodie Emery called the event “the most epic, peaceful, beautiful 4/20 in the history of the world.”

This year, hip hop group Cypress Hill was the headliner at the event.

Other companies jumping in

Companies across North America also took part in the event. 

Pizza Hut offered up its brownie for US$4.20, according to a tweet by the chain. 

Fast food chain Carl’s Jr, under parent company CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc announced a CBD-infused burger to celebrate 4/20, in one location: Denver.

It serve a double cheeseburger with two beef patties, pickled jalapeños, pepper jack cheese and Santa Fe Sauce infused with hemp-based CBD oil.

Ben and Jerry's, famed ice cream company, marked 4/20 by endorsing a petition calling on Congress to expunge cannabis convictions. 

Contact Katie Lewis at [email protected]

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