What is 420, how did ‘weed day’ get its name and is it legal in the UK?

People across the UK celebrate the 420th day every year (Image: Getty Images)

A controversial day that is loved or hated around the world, 420 is here, so get ready for some particularly racy rides today.

Around the world, fans of Marijuana celebrates green grass on this day; consider it as an unofficial party.

Also known as ‘weed day’, 420 falls on the same day every year and one of the UK’s largest congregations of those who celebrate it is in London.

Read on to find out everything you need to know.

What is 420 days?

Hoy – 420 – is celebrated every year on April 20, with April being the fourth month of the year.

See people from all over the world lighting up a joint and coming together to celebrate weed.

Events are often held where participants also aim to raise awareness of the cause of marijuana legalization.

The drug remains illegal in the UK, with no current plans to legalize it. It is against the law to possess, sell, distribute and cultivate cannabis in the UK.

Since marijuana is illegal in many parts of the world, 420 is part celebration and part protest against what some see as excessive drug laws.

Marijuana leaves background

The exact origins of day 420 are still unknown (Image: Jena Ardell via Getty Images)

What does 420 mean?

Although its popularity grew substantially over the years, the exact origins of the term 420 have not been officially stated.

The term has been much discussed among many involved in both the day and the drug.

According to legend, the date dates back to 1971, when a group of students from San Rafael High School in California would gather at 4:20 pm every day to hang out and catch up.

Calling themselves The Waldos, the group began using the tense to describe the act of smoking itself, and 420 was born.

Due to the fact that Americans tend to write April 20 as 4/20, it naturally became the official day to mark the high.

There are many other theories as to how 420 became popular, with some believing it to be a police code for cops to signal when someone was caught smoking (although the three digits are actually the murder code).

Others believe it has something to do with the chemical compounds in cannabis, while others have come up with conspiracy theories based on Bob Dylan.

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Will something happen in Hyde Park in 2022?

After two years of cancellation of 420 meetings in Hyde Park due to the Covid pandemic, they will return this year on April 20.

Currently on the Hyde Park 420 2022 Facebook page, 313 people are scheduled to attend the event which starts at 1pm

However, the day usually attracts large crowds of marijuana enthusiasts with attendees in the order of 11,000 people.

Cannabis is a Class B drug in the UK, which means there is a possibility of a five-year prison sentence if you are caught in possession of the drug.

Given the relaxation of Covid restrictions, people can gather in Hyde Park without group assignment, unlike the 2021 six-person gathering limits.

What countries is marijuana legal?

Although medical cannabis was legalized in the UK in 2018, its recreational use remains illegal.

If you are caught growing marijuana, you can face up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine, or both.

Many countries around the world have taken the step to decriminalize the drug entirely, while others have only legalized medical cannabis, similar to the UK.

Find out where marijuana is legal around the world below:

Totally legal recreational use

The following countries allow you to possess weed for personal use.

  • Australia (only legal in the Australian Capital Territory)
  • Canada
  • United States (legalized or in the process of legalization in 18 states)
  • Uruguay

The following 18 American states have legalized or are legalizing marijuana for personal use:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Mountain
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

joint in the hand

Marijuana has been decriminalized in nearly 20 states in the US (Image: Tunatura via Getty Images)

Only with prescription

  • Argentina (recreational use also decriminalized, but illegal purchase)
  • Australian (federal and all states)
  • Austria
  • Barbados (also legal for spiritual use by registered Rastafarians)
  • Belgium (recreational use also decriminalized up to 3g)
  • Bermuda (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Brazil (only for terminal patients or those who have no other treatment options)
  • Chile (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Columbia (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Croatia (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Cyprus
  • Denmark
  • Ecuador (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Finland
  • Germany (only for seriously ill patients who have exhausted other options)
  • Greece
  • Ireland
  • Israel (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Italy (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Jamaica (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • South Korea (limited access)
  • Lebanon
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • malawi
  • Malta (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Mexico (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Netherlands (recreational consumption allowed in licensed cafeterias)
  • New Zealand
  • north macedonia
  • Norway
  • Peru (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • Portugal (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • St. Vincent and the Grenadines
  • San Marino
  • Slovenia (recreational use also decriminalized)
  • South Africa (also legal for cultivation but not for sale)
  • Spain (limited)
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sweden (under limited circumstances)
  • Swiss
  • Thailand
  • Turkey (cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals only)
  • Ukraine (limited)
  • United Kingdom
  • Vanuatu
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

All other countries consider marijuana to be illegal, although there are some where the police tend not to enforce the law and there are no prosecutions.

PLUS : Cannabis could be prescribed as a painkiller on the NHS as hundreds join the trial

MORE: Cannabis to be ‘decriminalized in London’ by Sadiq Khan

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