April 20 – Evening Headlines

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The sweet smell of an almost spring rain finally signalling that Summer is coming:
Tim Chuey: Clouds and showers tomorrow, sunny and warmer Friday.

Bill would lift ban on hunting cougars with dogs
Oregon lawmakers are considering a bill that would open the door for some sport hunting of cougars with hounds for the first time since voters banned the practice in 1994. – sometimes to catch a cougar you’ve just got to let the dogs out. –ed.

Study: Sea lion entanglement in marine debris preventable
A new study suggests most entanglements of Steller sea lions in human-made marine debris along the Pacific coast could be prevented through education and changes to manufacturing and packaging processes when the entangling materials are produced. – from the “surprise finding” department. –ed

Police hunt for attempted murder suspect ends in arrest
A Eugene Police search for a suspect in an attempted murder case ended with the arrest of a man at a Springfield hotel.

A good swap: Blood for garden seeds
The Lane Blood Center is offering donors a free packet of seeds when they give blood this week, in honor of Earth Day.

So what’s with the 420 posts on Facebook?
According to online sources the significance of “420” goes like this: On January 1, 2004, then-governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 420 into law, establishing rules for the legal use of marijuana for medicinal reasons, and setting a precedent that, so far, has only been accepted by 14 other states and Washington, DC: that the government shouldn’t deny access to a substance that is no more dangerous than nicotine, is easy to produce, and has proven medical benefits. The number 420, of course, was chosen because modern marijuana smokers use the term not just as a way to refer to pot, but as a way of declaring that they are users of the drug at all.

That’s all very well and good, but how did the number 420 become significant in drug culture in the first place?

For a long time there was a popular misconception that 420 referred to a specific section of the California penal code that had to do with possession or use of marijuana. This is untrue. In fact, that section of the code refers to “obstructing entry on public land.” (For the record, 420 doesn’t have anything to do with marijuana in the penal codes of any other states, either.)

The truth is actually fairly prosaic. In the early 1970s at San Rafael High School in California, a group of twelve or so students began planning meetings near a specific statue at 4:20 in the afternoon, in order to toke. Eventually “4:20 Louis” became the password for meeting, and from that came the shorthand “420.”

According to the urban mythbusting site Snopes.com, there was no national or international movement associated with the number, or the time, it just expanded from the original dozen teenagers in much the same way as the old shampoo commercial used to illustrate word-of-mouth marketing: “If you tell two friends, then they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on.”

Today, of course 4:20 the time has expanded into 4/20 – April 20th, the date – and all around the United States, and across the globe, people pick this date to celebrate marijuana, with “hemp fests” and various other activities. Now you know.

Kelly Asay is an entrepreneur, software developer and performing musician. As the publisher of Eugene Daily News, Asay is continually searching, finding and promoting the best unknown journalists, photographers and inspirational people from all over Lane County.

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