Tie-dye pastel colots and words 4.20 2020

“420 in 2020. The classic cannaholiday is April 20th, which as the 4th month of the year, is abbreviated 4/20. In 2020, that makes every day in April 4/20! Thus, April 20th specifically becomes 4/20/20, or 4/20/2020. Further, twenty minutes after 4 o’clock that day – 4:20 am or 4:20 pm – will be 4:20 on 4/20 in 4/20 or 4:20 on 4/20/2020.” Mary Jane’s Guide, January 2020

The cannaholiday 420 was to have been so special this year. After all, this is 2020, and during April as the fourth month, every day is 4/20. That includes the infamous 20th day, aka 4/20.  There will be no similar date configuration any time soon. 4/20/2021? No. Or 4/20/2120? Not quite. Or 4/20/4200? Closer.

You can see 4/20/20 in the dreamer’s eye. Celebrations in 100 cities worldwide. Thousands gathered on college campuses, by city squares and in public parks. Smoke wafts above the crowds, banners unfurl in the wind and music fills the air. Revelers are extolling the herb, while speakers are demanding social justice. Keep that memory in your heart.

The sad reality is that, unexpectedly, everything changed when a microorganism infected the globe early this year. Scientist say that the pandemic created by the COVID-19 virus is just beginning. By this time next week or by 4/20, everything we once knew could be unimaginably different. The values that we hold dear – sharing, caring, peace and love – gleaned from our warm association with marijuana will be tested in the days to come.

Cannabis is medicine. It’s a plant that contains hundreds of components used by millions over thousands of years. While some decry the supposed lack of research, 20,000+ scientific studies and Ohio’s 80,000+ registered patients attest to its medicinal value. Did I mention that cannabis is safe?

Further, the endocannabinoid system – the physiological tie that binds mankind – combined with the incredible versatility of hemp, places our beloved plant on the front lines of this epic battle. Cannabis is quickly becoming essential. It must receive the recognition and respect it deserves:

  • Dispensaries must remain open. These entities meet the standards mandated by this crisis. The facilities are spotless and crowds are forbidden. They have been deemed “essential” in New York, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and yes, Ohio. The same must apply to cultivators, processors and testing labs.
  • The Ohio Medical Board must immediately approve anxiety as a qualifying medical condition. These are anxious times indeed. The board should also reconsider depression and opioid addiction, both made worse by this crisis.
  • The War on Drugs is over. Done. Finished. Kaput. No family should fear police in search of weed. No first responder should fear infected families. Prosecuting cannabis consumers during this crisis when courts are closed and prisons overcrowded represents an inhumane misuse of resources. Anyone incarcerated for nonviolent cannabis offenses must be released and those with convictions should have their records expunged.
  • The race for the cure must consider cannabinoids. THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN, and other cannabinoids, along with terpenes, alone or in entourage, have shown antiviral and antimicrobial activity. Will the feds continue to force science to ignore natural therapies? The federal bar on cannabis research must be lifted now.
  • Congress must act. The U.S. Senate must pass and President Trump must sign the MORE (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) Act, which would declassify cannabis as a controlled substance and spur research. The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act and the Ensuring Safe Capital Access for All Small Businesses Act must also be enacted so that essential cannabis companies can remain operational during the pandemic.
  • Social media must cease censoring cannabis. Facebook been known to block, delete or ban users who post cannabis content. Now that the plant is “essential” largely because of its medicinal qualities, social networks should be encouraging, not handcuffing discussion.
  • Hemp for Victory. The drug war’s demise means proliferation of home grow and hemp fields. Hemp, a hearty form of cannabis that can be grown most anywhere, holds a rich assortment of essential fatty acids, phytosterols, magnesium and cannabinoids like CBD. Large swaths of hemp adorning the heartland could mean that, during a pandemic, no one goes hungry.
  • 4/20 revelers, stay safe. Being indispensable gives the cannabis community new clout, but also new responsibility. We can certainly extol sharing, caring, peace and love, but must do so safely. Share words, but not joints or pipes. Care about others but protect yourself. Pray for peace, but no mass gathering. Love one another but keep social distance. Love, after all, means never having to say you’re sorry.

Following close behind 4/20 is Earth Day on April 22, 2020. The theme on its 50th Anniversary is, poignantly, climate change. Is it possible that COVID-19 came to our blue planet to show firsthand human impact on the climate? Greenhouse gasses have dropped markedly since the pandemic’s inception.

Mother Earth is ill. She, too, is fighting a run-away infection of human-linked harm. Let this pandemic serve as humanity’s wake up call. We must do much more to rebalance our earth, cherish our limited resources and ensure health and well-being among all inhabitants. When the virus has passed, everything must be different.