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Some Celebrate National Weed Day in US

  • VOA News

FILE - Partygoers listen to live music on the second of two days at the annual 4/20 marijuana festival in Denver, April 20, 2014. Colorado is now one of four states in the United States that allows recreational use of marijuana.

FILE - Partygoers listen to live music on the second of two days at the annual 4/20 marijuana festival in Denver, April 20, 2014. Colorado is now one of four states in the United States that allows recreational use of marijuana.

National Weed Day

What it is: The day -- April 20 -- when tens of thousands of people are expected to publicly enjoy marijuana while calling for increased legal access to it.

What does "420" have to do with it? According the Huffington Post, the term dates to the early 1970s, when a group of friends in San Rafael, California would agree to meet after school -- at 4:20 p.m. -- to smoke marijuana, also called pot. It has morphed into people gathering on April 20 to enjoy the substance -- especially at 4:20 p.m.

Where is it legal in U.S.: Four states permit the recreational use of marijuana: Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 other states. Federally, marijuana is illegal in the United States.

On the ballot in 2016: The issue is on ballot initiatives in Arizona, California, Massachusetts and Nevada in 2016.

UN action: The marijuana holiday comes a day after the U.N. General Assembly gathered -- for the first time in two decades -- to rethink global strategy in the war on narcotics. Activists, U.N. officials and world leaders cited an international trend toward more liberal drug laws. However, there is wide disagreement among the 193-member U.N. on how to achieve that.

What countries have legalized marijuana? Several countries have legalized medical marijuana, while only a few allow recreational use of the drug: Canada, Colombia, Czech Republic, Netherlands and Uruguay. France and Romania allow for products that contain cannabis compounds or derivatives.

Sources: Reuters, AP, .Mic, AL.com, Huffington Post

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