Background Information: Sharif is a Junior at college, and he grew up in California. He uses marijuana regularly, and I interviewed him about the supposed “weed day”—April 20th, and how he celebrates it.
Ankita: Have you always celebrated 4/20?
Sharif: Yeah, I usually like, since the 11th grade, when I like, tried marijuana for the first time, uh, I’ve been celebrating it, but I think it’s more of like uh… I think it’s just an excuse to be around like, your social group or your friends, and to share experiences with them and things like that. Yeah. It’s kind of like… it’s never really a fun day? Like, you just get high and sit there, you don’t do much hahaha, but like… I think that like… I dunno, I think this like self-proclaimed holiday is pretty fun. Because like it’s like, for the people that do celebrate it, it’s like this common knowledge… it’s like this thing you share with the other people whoa re celebrating it. It’s like celebrating being lazy, which is kind of fun.
A: It’s kind of like a low-key thing, right? I’ve mostly seen it as internet culture?
S: Well I think it’s been around… for a long time. Like from the 60s maybe. Maybe. I’m not sure. I know there’s something called like, 7/10… Like July 10th is when like, people who like to smoke like concentrates? So basically like hash or something like that, they do it on 7/10, because backward, 7/10 means oil. And oil is what they call those things.
A: Most people I talk to though, have told me that they celebrate 4/20 kind of ironically? Like not really as a serious thing. Is that true for you as well, or no?
S: Well to be honest with you, at least with my friend group, it’s a pretty serious thing. I mean… well like, the years that I’ve spent it with my friends that I grew up with, they… take it seriously in the way where it’s like, they’ll buy like, massive amounts of weed and like do things where like, on one hand you’re trying to be cautious and not be smoking everyday and stuff, but that day is a day to just splurge on it? And do things that are kind of ridiculous, like rolling a huge joint that’s like the size of your arm or something. It’s the day to like, do the dumbest thing you can and like, spend money on it. Also now that it’s more accepted, most places where you can buy medical marijuana, have extreme like, deals on that day. So I remember like a week ago, I bought… they just had like, $20 for an eighth of an ounce of weed, which is like half off, because usually it’d be like $40. It’s kind of like the Black Friday of buying weed. There’s literally like, lines outside of the places where you go.
A: Is it different celebrating it now that you’re not really with the friends you started smoking with? Like your high school friends?
S: Um, well… it definitely was more fun when you’re in high school. Like this year I didn’t smoke weed until like, 11pm? Because I had to work all day. But when I was younger, I remember specifically like, one 4/20, we—it was literally from like, 10am till the night time that we like woke up, and started, and were like very very high. I mean it’s really great. Like, I can’t really stop smoking weed… because I have some like, really amazing relationships that wouldn’t be as amazing without it.
Thoughts: The most interesting thing to me about this special day is how it seems to be common knowledge, especially among college students, without it having been officialized in any way. Most of the content about 4/20 is derived from internet culture, mostly consisting of memes and jokes. While smoking weed is an everyday activity, it is interesting how the community here as a whole, in an underground way, dedicates one day to glorifiying it, and doing things they would not normally do.