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SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (AP) — Friday is April 20, or 4/20. That’s the numerical code for marijuana’s high holiday, a celebration and homage to pot’s enduring and universal slang for smoking.

Festivities are planned worldwide, culminating with a synchronized smoke at 4:20 p.m. local time.

How the marijuana-loving world came to mark the occasion is believed traceable to five Northern California men now in their 60s with bad backs and graying hair. They are the unofficial grandmasters by virtue of the code they created nearly 50 years ago as students at a suburban San Francisco high school in 1971.

“We thought it was a joke then,” said David Reddix, a filmmaker and retired CNN cameraman. “We still do.”

Reddix and his four buddies — Steve Capper, Larry Schwartz, Jeff Noel and Mark Gravich — were a stoner clique who hung out at a particular wall between classes at San Rafael High School. They dubbed themselves “The Waldos,” a term coined by comedian Buddy Hackett to describe odd people.

One fall afternoon in 1971 a non-Waldo classmate came to the wall with an intriguing tale and a crudely drawn map.

The map purported to show the location of a marijuana garden in the forest of nearby Point Reyes National Seashore. The classmate said the pot patch belonged to his brother-in-law, a Coast Guard reservist stationed at Point Reyes.

The classmate explained his brother-in-law, paranoid of exposure and washing out of the reserves, was renouncing ownership of the garden. He handed Capper the map and said The Waldos were welcome to the marijuana.

The five excited friends made plans to find the weed after school and decided to meet in front of the school’s statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 p.m., when two of them finished football practice.

They piled into Capper’s 1966 Chevy Impala, popped in a Grateful Dead 8-track tape and passed around joints as they drove the 45 minutes to the coast.

The five, now firmly middle-class fathers dressed in Polo shirts and khaki pants, laugh about tumbling out of a marijuana smoke-filled car when they arrived at their destination.

(bud for sale)

“It was straight of a Cheech and Chong movie,” Schwartz said.

They didn’t find the patch that day, but vowed to keep searching. They would pass in the halls and whisper “420 Louis” to each other if a new attempt was planned, indicating they should meet at 4:20 p.m. at the Pasteur statue.

The patch was never found.

“We were probably too stoned,” Schwartz said.

But the “420 Louis” stuck as code for “let’s get high at the statue after school.” Soon after, it was shortened to simply 420 and meant “let’s get high anywhere.”

There were myriad reasons for the teens to speak in code about smoking marijuana in 1971. Marijuana’s growing social tolerance was still decades away and people were receiving stiff prison sentences after being caught with even small amounts.

Another big reason: Noel’s father was a narcotics agent for the California Department of Justice.

“He had an inkling we smoked,” Noel said. “But I don’t think he ever caught on to 420.”

The five Waldos never moved far away and all remain close. Gravich’s youngest daughter attends his alma mater and his oldest daughter is a recent graduate. Both say they’ve long been aware of their father’s involvement in creating 420.

“The kids here think it’s pretty cool,” said Sophia Gravich, a sophomore.

The code remained confined to The Waldos’ social circle until they began hanging out backstage at Grateful Dead concerts. Reddix’s older brother was friends with band member Phil Lesh and that led to backstage passes and smoking sessions with the roadies and other crew members, who picked up the code.

The number really took off in the late 1980s when flyers were circulated at Dead concerts proclaiming 420 to be the password of stoner culture. The flyers went on to explain that 420 was California police code for marijuana smoking in progress. It’s not, but that and other origin stories continue to circulate to the point that Capper and Reddix have committed themselves to preserving as much proof as they can that they are the originators.

They tracked down the Coast Guard reservist to record his recollections confirming he grew a marijuana garden and drew the map that launched the treasure hunt. With his permission, they obtained his Coast Guard records, which show him stationed at Point Reyes at the appropriate time.

They keep those records in a rented safe deposit box in a San Francisco bank where they also store other documentation, including postmarked letters they exchanged in the mid-1970s discussing 420. The San Francisco bank’s address, as it happens, is 420 Montgomery Street.

The Oxford English Dictionary added 420 to its lexicon last year after reviewing the Waldo’s records and credits the men as the creators.

Nebraska-woman-arrested-after-offering-to-sell-marijuana-on-Snapchat

A 19-year-old Nebraska woman is facing several charges after Beatrice Police responded to her social media post offering to sell marijuana.

Beatrice Police Sergeant Jay Murphy says an officer saw the 19-year-old woman’s post on Snapchat that showed her holding a large plastic bag with a green substance.

Police found the 19-year-old with two other teens Saturday night. They were sitting inside two vehicles, which officers said smelled of marijuana.

The 19-year-old who posted about selling drugs had two bags of marijuana. She is facing several charges including selling marijuana and using a juvenile to help distribute drugs.

The 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl who were with the woman are facing drug possession charges, and the 17-year-old has been charged with helping sell the marijuana.

California-to-Weedmaps-stop-promoting-illegal-marijuana-businesses-or-face-criminalcivil-penalties

California’s cannabis czar sent Weedmaps a cease and desist letter, ordering the Irvine company that maps marijuana dispensaries to immediately stop promoting businesses that don’t have state licenses.

“You are aiding and abetting in violations of state cannabis laws,” states the letter from Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

If the company doesn’t immediately drop advertisements for unlicensed businesses, Ajax said Weedmaps could face criminal and civil penalties, including civil fines for each illegal ad.

The letter is the only one that’s been sent to an advertising company, according to bureau spokesman Alex Traverso. But it’s one of more than 900 cease and desist letters his agency has sent to unlicensed marijuana businesses in California since recreational weed sales were allowed to start and licensing requirements kicked in Jan. 1. And Traverso said many of those 900-plus black market shops were discovered on Weedmaps.

Tustin resident Justin Hartfield founded Weedmaps in 2007 with company CEO Doug Francis. The site and its app help visitors find dispensaries and browse their menus, with shops rated much like businesses on Yelp.

Weedmaps has grown into an international juggernaut, with offices from Denver to Berlin. But much of that business has been built on ad revenue from unlicensed dispensaries, with 20 ads for marijuana dispensaries in Anaheim live Wednesday, for example, even though all cannabis businesses are banned in that city.

Weedmaps didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter. But during a February interview, company president Christopher Beals remained defiant on the issue of accepting ads from black market shops.

“The thing is, at the end of the day, we’re an information platform,” Beals said. “We’re showing the same information that Google and Yelp and Craigslist and 30 other websites are showing.”

Beals said he believes it’s up to states and cities to put in a solid regulatory framework and to permit enough licensed marijuana businesses to meet demand. That’s the only way to control the illegal market, he said.

“To sort of say, let’s pretend an illegal market doesn’t exist or that people can’t just type ‘dispensary’ into Google and find this information, it isn’t really realistic,” he said.

Kentucky-House-Committee-Postpones-Vote-on-Medical-Marijuana-Bill

Update: The House Judiciary Committee heard statements from advocates of HB 166 to allow the state to establish a medical marijuana program, but avoided taking action. Committee Chairman Joe Fischer announced the committee would address the bill at a later date.

Democratic Rep. John Sims Jr. (70th District) introduced the legislation on Jan. 10 with the support of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). House Bill 166 has now picked up the support of Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Kentucky native and Medal of Honor recipient, who issued his statement of support in a press release on Friday.

Medical cannabis works. I’ve seen firsthand lives it has positively impacted. I’ve seen how quality of life is vastly improved when a veteran struggling with PTSD can use medical cannabis to quiet their mind and sleep. It’s time we move away from the old-school mentalities that are holding our Commonwealth back and preventing Kentuckians from getting relief. I see legalization of medical cannabis as a huge step in fighting the opioid crisis. Frankfort has to act. There are too many people – especially men and women who have served our country – who need help. I’m counting on legislators and the Governor to make medical cannabis legal in 2018.

Thank you @Dakota_Meyer for joining in support of in KY! http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Medal-of-Honor-recipient-Sgt-Dakota-Meyer-endorses-legalized-medical-cannabis-475683233.html 

Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer endorses legalized medical cannabis

The Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office says Sgt. Dakota Meyer is joining Alison Lundergan Grimes’ efforts to help legalize medical cannabis in the Commonwealth.

Kentucky’s Secretary of State is hoping to cultivate Republican support for medicinal cannabis by appealing to the conservative ideal of state’s rights, which has been referenced in bipartisan support for similar efforts in other states. Grimes said she believes that by appealing to one of the GOP’s core philosophies and focusing on medicinal cannabis as a states’ rights issue, she can sway at least some of the staunch conservatives within Kentucky’s Republican Party.

“If folks are really believing in states’ rights, as the Republican-led administration in Washington claims to be, the Republican-led administration here in Frankfort, at all levels from the governor to each chamber in our House and Senate, then they will see this as what it is, a states’ rights issue,” Grimes said in January.

States-Mull-‘Sanctuary-Status-For-Marijuana-Businesses

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, some states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.

Just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Jan. 4 that federal prosecutors would be free to crack down on marijuana operations as they see fit, Jesse Arreguin, the mayor in Berkeley, California, summoned city councilman Ben Bartlett to his office with a novel idea.

Berkeley was already the first city in the nation to formally declare itself a sanctuary city on immigration, barring city officials from cooperating with federal authorities. Why not do the same thing with marijuana? Last month, it did.

“We knew we had to do something,” Bartlett said. “This is a new engine of a healthy economy.”

Others may soon follow Berkeley’s lead: Alaska, California and Massachusetts lawmakers are among those with similar bills pending, though the chances for passage is unclear.

Alaska state Rep. Adam Wool, who owns a movie, restaurant and concert venue with a liquor license in Fairbanks, said he introduced his bill as both a statement and a precaution.

“If the federal government wants to prosecute someone for breaking federal law, I guess they have every right to do that,” said Wool, a Democrat from one of Alaska’s major marijuana-growing areas. “I’m just saying, we will have no obligation to assist them.”

Sessions’ announcement invalidated a 2013 policy that allowed for legalized marijuana to flourish by limiting federal enforcement of the drug, as long as states prevented it from getting to places it was outlawed and kept it from gangs and children. His action also unsettled the industry and spooked potential marijuana industry investors. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Casey O’Neill remembers helicopter enforcement raids of grow sites in California when he was growing up in the 1980s. It was then that his parents, carpenters who grew small amounts of cannabis, became school teachers, he said.

He now helps run a farm that produces vegetables and marijuana for medical use near Laytonville, California, and is glad lawmakers are looking at ways to push back against the federal government.

Over the years, enforcement “has been uneven, we’ll say, and that’s kind of one of the things about it. It just means that everybody’s always afraid, and that’s hard,” he said.

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, said California has a lousy history with the federal government on marijuana enforcement.

“I don’t think the feds care too much about marijuana in Alaska, to tell you the truth,” he said. “But marijuana has been a big industry in this state, so we’re sort of on the front lines.”

There’s no apparent panic in the industry over Sessions’ change in policy, given limited federal resources and prosecutors having had discretion in bringing cases all along. But there isn’t complacency, either.

“I don’t think the federal government is going to effectively step in and wipe us out of business. I just find that hard to believe at this point. But they can make it hard for us,” said Jennifer Canfield, who co-owns a state-licensed marijuana cultivation operation and retail store in Alaska’s capital city, Juneau.

Peter Mlynarik, a police chief in Soldotna, Alaska, called the Alaska bill a terrible idea. He asked what would happen if a local agency were helping the federal government on a heroin bust but also found marijuana in the house.

“It’s crazy to put that burden on, especially, police officers that are supposed to obey federal laws,” said Mlynarik, who resigned from Alaska’s marijuana regulatory board after Sessions’ actions in January, saying it stripped the underpinning for the state’s legal marijuana industry.

Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he can’t see federal agents raiding businesses that are complying with state law.

“But you can’t put it past them,” he said, adding that new U.S. attorneys have been appointed by President Donald Trump in many states. “I wouldn’t put it past at least a few of them to want to gain points with their boss. But I think, politically, it would be a disaster for them.”

Massachusetts’ sanctuary-style bill was prompted by comments from that state’s U.S. attorney, Andrew Lelling, who declined to rule out prosecuting commercial marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. He later said his priority would be prosecuting opioid crimes, not marijuana.

U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam declined comment on the pending bills.