Marijuana laws are being challenged more often and the legalization of medical use has been gaining ground faster than a well-tended poppy field in Afghanistan, the 420 phenomena has more flame for the fire these days. So whether you’re a smoker or simply prefer to live vicariously through weed-inspired pop culture, take note of a few must-have swag items perfect accouterments for this most special of smokey days:
In years that April 20th falls on a Tuesday, the record industry in particular, goes marketing bananas. Why? Well you may have noticed, or not, but the official day of new releases is always a Tuesday. This includes, CD, DVD, and books, whereas theatrical film releases are traditionally on Fridays. There are of course exceptions, but this is the general rule. Back to the original point though, 4/20/2010 falls on a Tuesday, so any musician or record label that wants to capitalize (especially if the artist or album had illicit themes or imagery) plans well ahead for this special day.
Here are a few of the weed-heavy releases rolling out in April:
Foregoing the suggested route of hitting purely a Latino audience upon entering the scene back in the early 90’s, Cypress Hill instead struck a chord with the broad audience with anthems ‘Insane in the Brain’ and ‘Hits from the Bong’ – basically changing the face of hip-hop music, and earning multi-platinum status. B-Real, Sen Dog, DJ Muggs and drummer Bobo filled the lengthy space between now and their last album(2004) with various solo and side projects, but they never let the full unit scenario venture too far from their collective minds. Cypress Hill’s 8th studio album, Rise Up, hits shelves, of course, on April 20th and anxious fans are promised a diverse earful, thanks in part to guests appearances from Everlast (House of Pain, La Coka Nostra), Tom Morello (RATM), Marc Anthony and Pitbull to name a few.
The white boy, hip-hop group from SoCal created their own destiny, catering to skaters, surfers, stoners and the general misfit slacker types. Their hybrid mix of punk rock and hip-hop was best marketed by the members themselves, so they did what any good commercially-hated citizen would… run their own record label, sign like-minded artists, promote a healthy environment, and put out an average of at least one album per year. Classics like ‘Where’s the Weed at’ and ‘Bong Tokin’ Alcoholics’ just scratch the surface of their extensive catalog. A lot of work for what some would consider mere slackers. Long Live the Kings lights up on 420 as well, and will feature guests that include Insane Clown Posse and Tech N9ne.
Sure there’s the old favorites, iconic examples really, such as any Cheech and Chong flick, Reefer Madness (the 1936 anti-drug movie or 2005 musical adaptation), or the outrageous Evil Bong and sequel. Even the adult entertainment sector has something to offer (NSFW). But for a look beyond the cliché, kitschy and generally bizarre aspects of marijuana – documentaries are what to watch. National news programs will occasionally run the typical investigative piece from time to time; once in a while they are actually an unbiased look at both sides of the issue. Still, for those interested in the true ‘business’ of, legal ramifications, myths, and economic effect this plant has, American Drug War, and more recently, How Weed Won the West are worth checking out.
Educational, instructional, biased, unbiased, for and against – you name it and there’s a literary compendium covering every angle of marijuana and the culture thereof. Having a copy of High Times or Skunk magazine to peruse is certainly applicable, and if you’re a card-carrying member (errr, patient) – medical marijuana journals might be of interest. The supply never runs out, so choosing what to feast your eyes upon can be daunting. However, that’s where we come in to give you a good starting point – the recent release of Public Enemy 420 by Ed “NJ Weedman” Forchion.
A brand new release, full of interesting anecdotes from a counterculture hero of sorts. Forchion highlights his years of often-unsuccessful attempts to get marijuana laws reworked in his home state of New Jersey. The book is detailed… and we mean down to the nitty-gritty, minute by minute experiences Forchion brought upon himself, and in some cases, were thrust upon him by ‘the man’ and outdated legislation. Sometimes scathing, certainly irreverent, and always with a dose of humility – Forchion’s book is a good first-person insight into the inner workings of America’s oft-hypocritical handling of a botanical hullabaloo.
ODDS AND ENDS:
Other notable items that could make the day more festive include clothing, liquor and gadgets. Bong Vodka is artistic in design, certainly original, tasty… and according to at least one forum – convertible.