From train rides to epic road trips, new tattoos and protests colored my “celebrations” of April 20th when I first discovered that it was a celebration of a subculture. That subculture also represents many patients who have found a helpful botanical replacement to medications that have been harming them.
The first April 20th I ever celebrated was in 2010. On April 20, 2010 the very same friend who first showed me how to infuse butter with cannabis held a party where I was invited. It was a great party.
My Facebook friends across the country suffering in pain who could not access the herb weren’t having one bit of fun. They were still in pain and still without access to cannabis. Laws in their states did not provide for even medicinal access to the herb and I was frustrated that my friends were suffering.
The next January, while visiting a friend in Illinois, I was a part of a cannabis protest speaking to the state representatives with a group of friends. I caught the ‘activism bug.’ I wanted to be a part of changing the laws across the country for everyone.
In mid-April my new activism pumping through my veins, I had a friend tattoo the digits “420/24/7/365” on my left arm, dyed my hair pink and hopped a train to Washington D.C. for “Overgrow The Government 2011.” To my great surprise when I introduced myself to the other pink-haired lady (much younger than me) in the crowd in D.C. I would find out she was also from the northwest!
As a protest, about 150 people walked a few blocks after a couple of kids who decided to use the protest as an excuse to “light up” were taken in by the monument cops. Once at LaFayette Park, we were informed that we could not set up our stage or protest in any way facing the White House. After the stage was set, what followed were a series of speakers whose stories would influence my activism as well as my life. I maintain connections with many of them to this day.
When I returned from D.C. to Washington state, my activism had quieted a bit. I needed time to process. I kept meeting friends in 2011, and I adopted a companion who would assist my own rehabilitation.
In 2012 I wanted to have a caravan to DC for the second “Overgrow the Government” protest but instead ended up stopping in Denver for an interview with one of the organizers of the protest, then proceeding to Illinois to pick up one of my friends from the Illinois activism of the previous year. Athena (my dog) joined us as well.
April 20, 2012 I joined a small group of protesters in Washington D.C. walking around Washington Monument before sitting to listen to several speakers from the cannabis community. I learned about many different cannabis activism organizations and strengthened friendships that had been sparked the year before.
I’m thankful to have taken the opportunity to travel for those protests and to learn the stories behind the people whose stories change laws. Many cannabis laws across the country have been changed since.
In the time since those travels, I’ve recognized the best way for me to effect change is through education. First, my education to learn how to research and write books that will spread education about cannabis and other topics. I want to share the stories of the people who I have fallen in love with. These people who celebrate April 20th as a holiday.
April 20th is still a holiday for me as well. I celebrate the fact that cannabis treats my multiple mental and physical diagnoses without dangerous side-effects. For me, I celebrate the herb that replaces over 19 different pills and a patch every day. For me, I thank and celebrate the God that created this herb, Cannabis Sativa, and hope for increased research. I will continue to do my best every day to share the education which will lead to evolved cannabis laws around the world.
Happy 420, no matter how or if you celebrate. Please remember many of those who are celebrating are so thankful to have found a healthier answer.