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Monday, April 20, 2015

Should 4/20 Be An Official Holiday? Bill Maher Thinks So.

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 12:25 PM

click to enlarge Let us hail 4/20 together. - WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Wikimedia Commons
  • Let us hail 4/20 together.
Traffic on San Francisco's west side is snarled thanks to street closures, police are out in force, and merchants and denizens in the Haight-Ashbury are either in full-on opportunist mode, making a buck off of the thousands of people descending on the neighborhood — or in hiding.

420 — April 20th, the stoner Mardi Gras — has evolved into San Francisco's biggest "unofficial" holiday. According to police, crowds began arriving in Sharon Meadow in Golden Gate Park at 5 a.m. today, dragging couches, tents, and barbecue pits with them.

With legalization possibly around the corner — and with Barack Obama himself announcing support for legal weed on CNN last night — it may be time to legitimize 420. That's what Bill Maher is trying to do. And he needs your help.

The HBO funnyman is staunchly pro-cannabis and anti-prohibition, and has used "Real Time with Bill Maher" as a bully pulpit.

Remember, before Zach Galifianakis was interviewing Obama on "Between Two Ferns," he was smoking a joint on national television on Maher's show. Gateway drug, indeed — more like gateway to success. 

Maher is now attempting to leverage his celebrity status into helping 420 become an official national holiday.

He's the man behind a petition that as of midday Monday was quickly approaching 25,000 signatures, with another 1,000 signers every few minutes.

His reasoning is simple.

"Now that marijuana is legal in one form or another in 24 states and counting, I’m here to urge you to sign my petition to make 4/20 a national holiday.

We celebrate everything from Arbor Day to Groundhog Day to a National Day of Prayer. It’s high time we had a weed day.

Because if we can set days aside to pay tribute to trees, a rodent or a space ghost, we can certainly designate one day to officially recognize a true American institution."
Hard to argue. 

Meanwhile, "unofficial" 420 is costing San Francisco between $15,000 and $20,000 a year in cleanup and policing costs, according to city officials annoyed at having no "official" sponsor to stick with the bill. 

Some kind of legitimacy from the government may be the first step towards recouping some of that from an eager sponsor.
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About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has spent most of his adult life working in San Francisco news media, which is to say he's still a teenager in Middle American years. He has covered marijuana, drug policy, and politics for SF Weekly since 2009.


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