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Mary Jane, MJ, Weed, Oh my!

History of 420 Day

April 20 is often a day with laughter or snickers when brought up in conversations. The date when written is 4/20, but where does the correlation between this number and marijuana come from? 

According to Time, April 20 and the number 420 is generally associated with weed because, in 1971, five students at San Rafael High School met regularly to smoke week at 4:20 p.m. They chose this time because their classes and extracurricular activities were typically over by then. “They would say ‘420’ to each other as code for marijuana.” Since then, the association has become increasingly popular.

The War on Drugs

You’ve likely heard of the War on Drugs from a history class. If not, you are likely at least familiar with the term. According to History, “The War on Drugs is a phrase used to refer to a government-led initiative that aims to stop illegal drug use, distribution and trade by dramatically increasing prison sentences for both drug dealers and users.” In 1971, President Richard Nixon declared an official war on drugs stating drug abuse was “public enemy No. 1.”

On the surface, it seems like a positive effort to limit the harmful effects of drugs, but some believe there was an ulterior racist motive. The History article says, “The Nixon campaign had two enemies: ‘the antiwar left and Black people.’ His comments led many to question Nixon’s intentions in advocating for drug reform and whether racism played a role.”

The Nixon administration sought to place a negative, unsafe and criminal stigma surrounding marijuana when it could easily be argued that using cannabis is safer than drinking alcohol. People can overdose on alcohol, and too much can certainly be fatal. According to American Addiction Centers, “A fatal dose of (THC), the potent chemical in marijuana, would be between 15 and 70 grams.” A typical joint contains about half a gram of marijuana. This means you would have to smoke at least 238 joints in a day to reach a lethal dosage of weed. 

Weed in Ohio

Whether you call it weed, cannabis, MJ or mary jane, it can be used in a variety of different ways in a variety of different states. Every state has laws regarding the plant and what you can and can’t do. 

In Ohio, weed is not permitted for recreational use but can be obtained with a medical marijuana card. Although cannabis can’t be used recreationally legally in Ohio, there is a gray area that depends on the amount you possess. According to the Benesch Law Firm, adults can possess up to 2.5 oz of marijuana and/or 15 grams of concentrates.

Regarding medical marijuana cards in Ohio, one must be 18 years old or older, prove Ohio residency and be affected by a qualifying condition listed on the website. Conditions include PTSD, HIV, Sickle Cell Anemia and others. 


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