On Friday, April 20th, thousands of people descended upon Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz for Four Twenty (420), a counterculture holiday observed in cities throughout the world, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis.
Cannabis is recognized as medicine by the state of California, 17 other states in the USA, Washington DC, and a growing number of people and governments all over the world. Cannabis is typically ingested through smoke or foods made with cannabis-infused cooking oil or butter.
Four Twenty in Porter Meadow at UCSC is an unorganized annual tradition. Last year, rain caused people to seek shelter under the forest canopy. This year, it was the hot sun which drove people to the shade provided by the trees.
Slacklining, a practice in balance where people walk along a thin flat cord tensioned between two trees, was a popular activity.
Petitioners were out collecting signatures for various ballot initiatives, including the California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative, which would legalize “cannabis hemp” for industrial, medicinal, nutritional and “euphoric” use.
At about 5:00pm, approximately 10 University of California police officers walked into the meadow to surveil the celebration. The officers spoke briefly with some people, and left 15 minutes later, without incident.
Although it is illegal under U.S. federal law, cannabis is legal, and recommended by doctors, in California.
Health educator Ron Marczyk explains, “The government’s public mantra has always been that marijuana is not a medicine in any form, as in Schedule I, which means (a) the drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse; (b) it has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States (Remember U.S. Patent 6,630,507 B1?); and (c) there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.”
In the 1990s, activists and doctors were energized by seeing marijuana help dying AIDS patients. A study of smoked marijuana at the University of California, San Francisco, under Dr. Donald Abrams was eventually approved by the federal government after five years. Dr. Abrams is excited about cannabis medicines and the potential effect that components of the marijuana plant may have against cancer cells.
Ron Marczyk points out contradictions in the U.S. government’s classification of cannabis. “While spending billions of dollars to promote its anti-drug meme, behind the scenes it was simultaneously trying to prove to the Patent Office that cannabinoids are powerful anti-oxidative medicines that fight oxidative stress diseases in everyone. One of the main causes of cancer is oxidative stress disease.
“So the crazy Catch 22 is that the U.S. government is now claiming cannabis is medicine, but is also saying it isn’t medicine and that it needs to be against the law.”