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By Molly Daly

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s April 20th, also known as “420” Day.  That may not seem like a significant date, but to some people, it’s a “high” holiday.The term “420” is slang for marijuana and pot smoking. 

How the phraseology came to be is open to debate, but over the years the expression has spread like so much smoke.

Now, the date has become an unofficial holiday for stoners, and for advocates of decriminalization and the legalization of marijuana, for medical uses and otherwise.

farber For Some, The Date 4/20 Denotes A Higher Calling

(Prof. David Farber. Credit: Temple Univ.)

Temple University history professor David Farber (right) says the mainstreaming of the phrase — including media coverage of it — reflects a change in public attitude about marijuana.

“I guess, first of all, so many Americans have at one time or another indulged in this illegal activity,” Farber notes.  “And while some people suffer adverse effects or use it too regularly, I think most Americans think of it as really, in some ways, a milder intoxicant than alcohol.  So I think it’s really just kind of a democratic process.”

Farber says say it’s remarkable that the “420 Day” concept has spread spontaneously to become an international phenomenon.

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