Bitcoin's Relationship With 420 & Weed Culture


Last week, people across the United States celebrated a holiday often referred to simply as 420, the date the holiday falls on each year(April 20th). But why is this even a holiday which is celebrated? And what does this have to do with Bitcoin?

What is 420?

420, or April 20th, is a holiday which is mostly celebrated in the US, that celebrates counterculture through the consumption of cannabis. Although cannabis, or weed, is legal in most states in 2021, historically, people would gather on 420 in a public place to protest the regulations against weed. And just how would they celebrate? By smoking weed of course. Because weed is legal now in more locations, the holiday has been dubbed a commemoration for the protestors who worked to make weed legal. Besides just in the US, this holiday has also taken hold in the country of Australia, where locals have been officially celebrating since 2017.

The History of 420

You may be wondering where a holiday like this came from. Well, it all started in 1971 in San Rafael, California. Five high school students at San Rafael High School used to meet every day at a wall on their school grounds at 4:20 to smoke weed together. They would often refer to themselves as the “Waldos” because they would hang out by this wall while they smoked. One day, they came up with a plan called 4:20 Louis, in which they would create a treasure map in order to find an abandoned cannabis crop they had heard rumors of.

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Of course this mysterious abandoned weed crop was never found, but 4:20 Louis eventually was shortened to 4:20 and became a code word used by teens to refer to smoking weed. The term remained fairly localized until High Times magazine publicized the story in 1991. Over the next 7 years the holiday continued to grow in popularity, and by 1998 most Americans knew about 420 and its connection to the weed counter culture.

The Impact of The Holiday

You wouldn’t necessarily expect it, but the 420 impact has actually had several repercussions on society. One of which is an increased motor vehicle crashes on April 20th. Luckily, most of these crashes are non-fatal.

420 has also led to widespread sign thievery across the nation. States which have 420-mile markers report that their 420 marker is stolen more than any other marker, even more than the 69-mile marker. In Colorado, the 420 sign was stolen so many times that the state put out a 419.99-mile marker instead. But unfortunately, because the story of the Colorado 420 sign was so famous, this sign was stolen too. They have reported that as of 2019, they do not plan to replace the sign anymore. The state of Idaho is in a similar boat, but when their 420 was stolen, they decided to mark another spot with a 419.9 marker, which is reportedly still there. Washington state followed their lead, but failed to replace all 420 markers in the state (they only replaced one of the two) and so the remaining one was stolen. Utah is the only state which is still reported to have a 420 sign. This sign is also repeatedly stolen just as in the other states; however the Utah government still continues to replace it.

Bitcoin and Weed

Bitcoin and weed currently go hand and hand, mostly because of the US government regulations surrounding the plant. But to understand this, you’ll need a little history on how these two variables have worked in the past.

First of all, when people started mining Bitcoin in 2009, and the government began its insinuations that Bitcoin would be used for drugs, this had nothing to do with Marijuana. Sure, some people at the time may have purchased weed with Bitcoin, but by and large, the plant was often purchased with cash—the oldest form of exchange in the book which was impossible to trace. Even the infamous Silk Road website rarely dealt in weed, rather they focused on harder drugs which were easier to ship (although weed was occasionally purchased).

This all changed however, when the governments in certain states began to legalize the plant. Suddenly, instead of buying weed from the man around the corner (who had little overhead and didn’t mind dealing in cash for small amounts of weed) people were starting companies with store fronts where people could shop for and purchase weed. And this costs money. Which brings up a problem, because weed is still federally illegal in the US, so weed companies are not allowed to have bank accounts. Not just that, but they are also typically not allowed to use payment processors like PayPal. Thus, if you want to buy weed, you’ll still need to pay cash.

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This is a problem because these weed companies are bringing in thousands of dollars a day. And it is dangerous to store all that cash. This led to many weed companies looking for safer ways to store their cash that the government wouldn’t prevent, and this led them to Bitcoin.

Of course this doesn’t mean every weed company keeps their money in Bitcoin, but many of the bigger ones do, especially those who have locations and warehouses which are across state lines.

But the point is, despite what the government may want you to think, people aren’t using Bitcoin to buy weed. Rather, they are using the same thing they have always used, cold hard cash, issued by the US government itself. It’s the weed companies which are buying Bitcoin, and who said these companies could exist? That’s right, the US government.

Basically, the US government will do whatever it can to stop people from transacting in Bitcoin, because it hates to lose control. The US government would rather every citizen use a federally mandated bank which reports every transaction back to the government. This way they can know exactly where their money is going. And with Bitcoin, although it isn’t completely private, it is much more difficult for the government to track.

Overall, Bitcoin, weed, and 420 are similar, as they are all effectively protests against the US government and symbols of a rising counterculture. And just like weed, Bitcoin is slowly rising to prominence and acceptance in society, even as the government tries to stop it. Maybe there will even be a holiday to commemorate Bitcoin someday.

 

This article was brought to you by the 100% provably fair Bitcoin Dice Game on MintDice. Originally posted on the MintDice Bitcoin Blog.

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