James Monroe High School

Opposing views on celebrating April 20

Weed Day, or April 20 (also known as 420), is being taken seriously at Monroe. Assistant principal Carlos Valdovinos said the school will have extra random searches on Monday, and Dean of students John Cosentino said “[w]e will keep an eye out.”

The Monroe Doctrine surveyed 340 students about their marijuana use. Of the 340 students, 100 admitted to be either active or occasional weed users.

The term 420 entered our culture in 1971 with a group of about 12 kids at Santa Rafael High School, California, who regularly reminded each other that “four-twenty” was the time to meet to smoke dope after school, according to http://www.snopes.com, urban myth investigators. Because this day’s obscure origin is not generally known, many other origin theories have sprung up to explain the beginnings of this “off-the-books” holiday.

Four-twenty has been closely identified with a non-existent police code for weed; others say 420 is the number of chemical compounds in weed (weed has 315 chemical compounds, according to High Times magazine); some thought that 420 is the California penal code for marijuana use (section 420 of the California penal code is about obstructing public land); others thought it marked Adolf Hitler’s birthday and some thought it came from the code you sent to your weedman when you wanted to buy marijuana. There are many things unknown about the origins of 420 but how to celebrate it is not one.

In today’s pop culture 420 is publicized. Subliminal messages to stoners are everywhere and every year fast food franchises promote items on their menus directed toward stoners like the “Munchie Box” at Jack-in-the-Box or the “We Wake and Bake Every Morning” breakfast promotion at Carl’s Jr. In today’s society marijuana has become mainstream and among teens it is the norm to know at least one person that regularly uses. It has become acceptable and very available.

“It is pointless for weed to be illegal because everyone already does it,” senior Tony Flores said.

Even President Obama wrote in his 1995 memoir that while in high school he smoked cannabis “in a white classmate’s sparkling new van,” that he would smoke “in the dorm room of some brother” and “on the beach with a couple of Hawaiian kids.”

Out of the 340 students surveyed, 50 claimed to have been active weed users at one period in time but have since quit completely.

“It was something fun to do, but it was really a waste of time,” an anonymous student said when asked why she quit using marijuana.

Some students think marijuana use in teens is not harmful.

“It relaxes people and helps them focus,” junior Natalie Moton said.

Junior Thomas Kenny said, “CBD is an active ingredient in marijuana that combats cancer cells, psychosis, seizure activity and depression.” Senior Larry Tejada thinks that, “The benefits outweigh the negatives” and Senior Ivan De Loera said, “It stimulates the growth of brain cells.”

Teachers are hopeful that when April 20th comes around, Monroe will not be affected. Ryan Gonzales, music instructor, said, “Hopefully there isn’t an impact. I hope our student are smart enough to realize that stuff has no place at Monroe,” and Juan Cevantes, foreign language teacher, said, “People that smoke are always going to smoke and the responsible students will still be responsible.”

It is important to remember that although marijuana is commonly used and viewed as harmless, it is still illegal for recreational use in California. Many people believe that one day marijuana will be legal for recreational use, and out of the 340 students surveyed, 210 would vote yes to legalize it. A sophomore named Pablo Silva claimed he would vote yes because “people will do it anyway.”