Happy 420 UK!

Liz Filmer
20 Apr 2023

420 is an annual event observed globally where weed smokers gather to celebrate the drug or protest against its illegality.

In the UK, the most popular event takes place in Hyde Park, where weed connoisseurs gather in their masses to indulge in their favourite past time peacefully. The event has attracted a growing crowd every year, and with great weather expected, it is likely to grow again.

But how did the holiday originate? What does the term 420 mean?

420 takes place every year on April 20. It is believed that 420 was initiated in California in 1971 when a group of high school students would meet every day to smoke weed. 

The San Rafael High School students called themselves the Waldos. They would meet outside their school after sports practice every day – at precisely 4.20 pm.

The group began discreetly using the term “420” to discuss their weed use, from inviting new friends to join to enquiring who had weed on them. Eventually, the code entered the mainstream and now appears regularly in pop culture worldwide. 

Now 4/20 is recognised as an unofficial holiday dedicated to getting high. Despite the illegality of weed here in the UK, 420 celebrations have taken off in recent years.

Cannabis users meet in Hyde Park, London, every year to celebrate weed in all its forms and protest against the UK’s outdated weed laws, all whilst getting high.

Cannabis is currently a class B drug, meaning people found possessing cannabis could serve up to five years in prison and receive an unlimited fine. Those supplying or producing cannabis potentially face up to 14 years in jail or an unlimited fine. Police can also issue a warning or a £90 penalty to anyone found possessing cannabis.

Could weed be legalised in the UK?

In October 2022, Home Secretary Suella Braverman said cannabis has already been “effectively” legalised through inferior policing and has not ruled out upgrading it to a class A substance. However, the government still believes that cannabis acts as a “gateway drug”, and there are plans to make penalties more severe.

Medicinal cannabis has been legalised in the UK since 2018. Still, treatment options can be challenging, and doctors are reluctant to prescribe. However, a 2018 poll discovered that 59 per cent of Britons supported the legalisation of cannabis.

Liz Filmer