What does the name ‘420’ mean?
Cannabis culture is a thriving and unifying aspect of cannabis consumption for many people who use the drug. It encompasses the beliefs, ideas and practices of cannabis consumers around the world. Cannabis culture is not set in stone, instead it is consistently changed and updated with the numerous beliefs and practices upheld by marijuana enthusiasts. These include methods of consumption, new strains of cannabis and relevant holidays to cannabis. One such holidays is 420.
Celebrated on the 20th of April every year, 420 is a celebration earmarked by peaceful protests and exhibitions of cannabis culture by its connoisseurs. On 420, cannabis consumers come together to celebrate the substance by consuming it in large groups, often in public areas. This is done alongside side attractions such as music, comedy and food. Aside from the mass consumption, cannabis consumers often come together to protest the legal status of cannabis and societies worldwide.
In the literal sense, 420 simply means the 20th of April using the American format for dates. The American format for dates places the month before the day — mm/dd/yyyy — and since the origins of the holiday can be traced to America, the holiday itself is called 420.
What are the benefits of nicknames like ‘420’ for illicit substances?
Cannabis — as with many substances considered “illicit” — are often given nicknames/slang terms. These nicknames could either be culture/ geographic location specific or have a broader reach.
Some of the nicknames for cannabis include;
- Moka (culture specific to Spain)
- Mary Jane
- Black Russian
- Panama Gold
- Thai Stick
In societies such as Melbourne, where cannabis is illegal, nicknames/slang terms are an invaluable asset to dealers and consumers. By formulating nicknames for these substances, dealers and consumers can “speak freely” on matters relating to the substance without alerting the suspicions of law enforcement.
A Quick Glimpse at Cannabis Laws in Melbourne
As is the case nationwide, the use, possession, sale and cultivation of cannabis is illegal in Victoria (VIC) — and by extension, Melbourne. Although the laws on cannabis in Victoria are not as lenient as those in South Australia or the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), they are simple and easy to navigate.
In order to understand fines in VIC, it is important to understand penalty units. Penalty units are indexed amounts subject to the rise and fall of the economy. These indexes are changed every financial year. As of now — and till the 30th of June 2019 — one penalty unit is worth $161.19. In this same vein, 5 penalty units would be worth $805.95 and 10 would be worth $1619.1. When fines are issued in Victoria, they are issued in penalty units as opposed to monetary value.
As a first time offender, individuals will be granted a caution. Cautions are formally given at the police station. On receiving a caution, individuals are mandated by the state to attend a counselling session at a Victorian drug treatment center. The maximum penalty for cannabis use is five penalty units. Prison sentences are never issued for cannabis use alone.
An individual in possession of a small amount of cannabis (less than 50 grams) is liable to face a fine of five penalty units. First time offenders are usually given either a caution or a good behaviour bond. In certain cases, these are accompanied by convictions. Although fines may be issued, prison sentences will not.
What are the safest ways to consume cannabis in Melbourne?
Of the four ways to consume cannabis, inhalation – normally through smoking and vaping, is notably the unhealthiest method. Smoking and vaping involve the use of combustion. Smoking often requires accessories such as rolling papers which contain additional chemicals in their own right. Cannabis consumers who inhale their product open themselves up to ingesting harmful toxins including tar.
In recent times, it has been argued that smoking marijuana is almost as unhealthy as smoking cigarettes due to the amount of toxins released due to combustion. Generally, methods of cannabis consumption that do not involve combustion like edibles or sublinguals, are generally healthier than inhalation methods. Sublingual paraphernalia like tinctures, oils and concentrations can be hard to find due to the legal status of cannabis in Melbourne. However, they are noticeably healthier than inhalation.
Could Melbourne Take the Lead as the Country’s Leading Cannabis Supplier?
Melbourne is a bustling city with a thriving sector for arts and culture. While Canberra is the Australian capital, Melbourne is often referred to as the capital for culture — and cannabis.
Melbourne is home to popular drug syndicates which service Victoria and even other states and territories. The wholesale market is reportedly worth $1.5 billion whereas the retail market is worth all paying $8 billion. If legalisation is realised in Australia, Melbourne is set to be one of the country’s biggest producers for cannabis. With an estimated 1500 greenhouses already in operation, Melbourne has laid the groundwork for large-scale production. All they are waiting for now is a change in policy.