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4/20 – High Holiday!

April 20, 2010

Pot smokers out, proud for 4/20 celebrations

OAKLAND, Calif. – Forget Hippie Hill. For thoroughly modern marijuana smokers in the San Francisco Bay area, the hip place to celebrate their movement’s high holiday this year was the inside of a stretch Hummer parked outside a pot gardening superstore where entrepreneurs mingled with investors and a city councilman.

Marijuana legalization advocates across the country are expected to light up during Tuesday’s annual observance of 4/20, the celebration-cum-mass civil disobedience derived from “420” — insider shorthand for cannabis consumption.  IGrow, a 3-month-old cultivation equipment emporium, got a 24-hour jump start on the festivities by sponsoring a “420 Eve” festival Monday afternoon.

Several hundred revelers lined up outside the 15,000-square-foot shop — security guards kept them at bay until 4:20 p.m. — waiting for the chance to revel in their drug of choice’s rising commercial clout. Inside the gates, they perused booths stocked with pipe-shaped lollipops and specialty fertilizers, entered a medical marijuana delivery service’s raffle for an oversized joint and toured a 53-foot-long portable grow room with a starting price of $60,000.

“I wouldn’t have thought we would be able to consume on site,” marveled John Corral, 19, of San Jose, after he obtained a wristband that gave him access to the event’s two “vapor lounges,” the one inside the Hummer and another inside a companion Range Rover limousine.

Two years ago, before he had a doctor’s recommendation to smoke pot, Corral commemorated 4/20 on Hippie Hill, the Golden Gate Park promontory where an earlier generation of pot aficionados made their stand. IGrow has arranged to have a doctor working at the store three days a week to evaluate people seeking to become medical marijuana patients, and a handful of those at the 420 Eve party were able to snag last-minute appointments.

Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the drug’s steady movement from counterculture indulgence to mainstream acceptance will be evident elsewhere in the United States Tuesday, when four cable television channels have scheduled “a good chunk of programming to 420.”

St. Pierre said that with the terms “marijuana” or “cannabis” regularly showing up on the top Internet searches and a measure to legalize the plant’s recreational use appearing on as many as four state ballots in November, it’s clear that groups like his, which has lobbied to decriminalize marijuana since 1970, are no longer blowing smoke.

( Read more:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100420/ap_on_re_us/us_high_holiday )

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