Coalitions in Action: Making the time to Educate Parents and Students about 420

Village of Croton-on-Hudson Proclamation

Coalitions are “re-mixing” what “420” means to youth, changing the perception that marijuana is not harmful, and are re-claiming April 20th from an unofficial marijuana smokers’ “holiday.”

This post originally appeared on CADCA Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America

The most widely accepted theory of “420’s” origination is that in the 1970s, high school-age stoners in Northern California congregated at 4:20 p.m. daily. “420” has evolved into an unofficial marijuana holiday.

Rather than celebrating such a “holiday,” coalition members want parents to speak openly about the harm of marijuana use with their kids and change the social norm amongst all ages. They want to reclaim the day.

Recognizing that the legalization of a commercial marijuana industry in Washington state has a significant impact on shaping the social norms that influence a youth decision to use, a coalition member requested the governor proclaim 420 “Talk With Your Kids About NOT Using Marijuana Day” in Washington state. In response to that, agencies are planning a social media campaign and other activities through community coalitions based on this proclamation leading up to 420.

“Now signed by Gov. Jay Inslee, this proclamation not only points out several risk factors about underage marijuana use, but gives parents a legitimate tool to push back on constructs like 420 that would otherwise encourage and normalize marijuana use,” said Derek Franklin, Project Director, Mercer Island Communities That Care Coalition on Mercer Island, Wash.

Other communities across the country are participating in anti-420 activities. The North Coastal Prevention Coalition in Southern California will hold an annual social media campaign and an event for 6th through 9th graders called “420 Remix, A Celebration of Sober and Drug-Free Life Choices” at a local amusement park. New this year to the mix is a public service announcement contest that the coalition is holding to engage youth in developing messages for their peers to increase youth perception of harm from marijuana use, and decrease marijuana use by youth.