• Menu

Four Twenty and Cannabis Culture in Canada

Love My Hemp Cream Though…

“Dude, where are we going already?”

“I dunno, I like totally forgot!”


This is how I picture it. What’s “it”? Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe you are not familiar with today’s subcultures. I’m referring to the latest hip subversion, smoking pot on April 20th at 4:20 p.m.—“420” is a famous code word for cannabis use. But note that you don’t just smoke pot for your own guilty pleasure or for the sake of smoking. No, ladies and gentlemen, you get high for the cause and to show you truly and fully support the legalization of cannabis.

In Ottawa, the gathering takes place today on Parliament Hill and Major Hill. When the clock on the Peace Tower strikes 4:20, bam, light up your spliff and enjoy—just make sure you don’t burn a passing RCMP Officer with your lit joint (guess what, Parliament Hill is not exactly cop-free).

I totally forgot about the event (no pun intended) until I saw a poster mentioning it this morning. Maybe I was in a bad mood (the gloomy and cold weather never seems to end this year) maybe I was just feeling sarcastic but I couldn’t help picturing a pathetic crowd of stoners gathered under the rain on the Hill, surrounded by cops taking everybody’s picture and address. Is smoking pot in front of the Parliament the smartest thing to do, really?

I know, I’m missing the point. It’s not about being smart, it’s about being legally subversive: the police rarely if ever make arrests on that day provided the crowd behaves. It’s also about looking supremely cool in the pictures curious bystanders and journalists will snap. People seem to enjoy being immortalized doing “cool” stuff. Like those who proudly display pictures of themselves drinking, smoking, stripping or holding weapons on social websites.

When I was a teen, buying marijuana-leaf accessories (I had earrings!) was a great way to rebel and piss off our parents. Or so we thought before we realized that our parents had been young rebels as well and were teens in the 1960s and the 1970s. Most weren’t exactly strangers to pot. Rebellion factor? Gone.

I saw more drugs when I was in high school than I did travelling in Latin America. For most, it was just an experiment. They did inhale all right but eventually outgrew it because let’s face it, you don’t get any smarter when you are high, although Pink Floyd songs strangely make a lot of sense.

I don’t mind people who smoke pot—to each his own. But I can’t help thinking that those who embrace cannabis culture and make legalization a lifelong project are a bit disconnected from real life. Seriously, isn’t there anything more important to change in the world right now?

Note that I don’t want to send pot smokers to jail. Most, like my teen neighbours (yes kids, I know that it’s not a cigarette you’re smoking!) are not criminals. Offenders maybe, but I don’t see why getting high would be worse than getting hammered.

Anyway, if you make it to the Hill at 4:20 today, make sure not to blow the smoke out towards Harper’s office. He needs to chill out a bit I think.

As for me, I’ll “celebrate” by reading Ben Elton’s excellent novel on drugs, High Society.

Share this article!

French woman in English Canada.

Exploring the world with my camera since 1999, translating sentences for a living, writing stories that may or may not get attention.

Firm believer that nobody is normal... and it’s better this way.

View stories

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *