In Search of the 420 Celebration in OB

by on April 21, 2010 · 38 comments

in Culture, Ocean Beach, Popular

Pier cliffs on 4-20 005-sm

The boardwalk just south of the pier. No 420 here. (All photos by Frank Gormlie)

Closing in on the 4th hour of the afternoon on April 20th (4/20), I grabbed my camera and note pad and headed for the beach.  I was in search of the 420 celebration, hoping to catch OBceans partying for the holiday at 4:20 pm.  I also hoped I would have more luck than other reporters searching for the same.

Easing my car into the lifeguard parking lot, I scanned the beach for a cannabis style floatopia or some such event.  Yet, I saw only a couple here and there on the sand, enjoying the last rays of a sun about to be gobbled up by in-coming clouds. No mass gathering of youthful civil disobedients on this beach, flaunting johnny law to light up on this holiday.

I proceeded towards the OB Pier. There must be something at the foot of the Pier – there always is, I thought, or at least according to those who site young homeless around our Pier as the epitome of lawlessness.  But alas, I only found a few folks sitting on the sea wall.

Actually there were some people I know filming high school surfers taking the great looking waves. After chit-chatting with them, I headed south.

Pier cliffs on 4-20 004-sealion -sm

Injured sea lion. The lifeguard said they had called SeaWorld.

Aha! I thought – there’s a knot of youngsters just south of the Pier.  They must be up to no good.  Upon arriving at this gathering, however, I realized they were all watching an injured young sea lion on the beach below.  I joined them for a few minutes.  A lifeguard drove up and told us he had called SeaWorld to come out and take care of the guy.

Glancing at my cell phone (who wears a watch these days?) I saw I still had time before the anointed hour.  I asked a few stragglers heading north toward the Pier, “Where’s the 420 celebration?”

They pointed towards the cliff.  One said, “Can’t miss it.”

All right, I thought. This is it.  I quickened my step.  I passed the sand pit, went down those ancient concrete steps, and headed out towards the cliffs.

Rounding the corner, I saw them.  There they are! I walked up to the first group of ten or so, announced I was with the OB Rag and asked them if they were celebrating 420.  I really didn’t need to ask, as I saw a half dozen pipes and short, suspicious looking cigarettes going.  One girl was smoking from an orange.

All were friendly. Some had heard of our blog. So, I had no trouble being accepted, unlike that SDNN reporter I cited above.

At exactly twenty minutes after 4, a whoop went up.  Nothing really exuberant but a shout out to the hour to announce its arrival.  More pipes sprang into action.  Just for the record, you should know, I did not imbibe.

Pier cliffs on 4-20 009-sm

The 420 celebration.

Many wished me and each other “happy 420”. I moved down the cliffs to another group and asked if I could take their photo. Most of them agreed.  I said if you don’t want to have your photo taken, just look down or away. Some of the kids had medicinal herb cards so they didn’t mind. They effortlessly grouped themselves for the pics, some with pipes still going.

Pier cliffs on 4-20 010-smI thanked them and looked down the cliffs towards the Catalina Islands and I could see more small knots of people also celebrating.  I really didn’t to venture any further as it was now past 4:20.

It wasn’t just a picture-taking adventure for me.  I really did want to know if these kids thought the marijuana legalization proposal would pass on November’s ballot.  So I asked everyone I could.  Surprisingly, they were split on the issue.  A bare majority didn’t think it would pass.  Some, though, were certain it would.  “They need the money from taxing it,” one thoughtful guy said. I wondered if most of them were old enough to vote or would even vote.

As I moved to leave a couple people even thanked me. “Happy 420,” I let out, and they returned the salutation. In seven months, I thought, it all could be legal.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dave Sparling April 21, 2010 at 12:36 pm

If they do make POT legal I guess everyone knows the next step will be to make smoking it ILLEGAL on the beaches, in the parks, on the sea wall. At least this will remove the stupid idea that young people need to go to prison for possession of more than a ounce. I doubt this will allow funding cuts for the FAKE war on drugs.

Perhaps they can set up Camp Gitmo type drinking compounds for POT smokers, line up get a wrist band, smoke away. Matches $5 lighters $10


avatar oBak April 21, 2010 at 2:11 pm

I wouldn’t mind it being legal to smoke in your own home, but seriously, don’t light up in public. I hate when people do it with cigs already.


avatar Cat310 April 21, 2010 at 3:01 pm

Hopefully employers are taking the opportunity this week to do agressive random samplings for drug testing. Despite legalization for medical use employers are still permitted to terminate for positive drug test results.


avatar mr fresh April 21, 2010 at 3:27 pm

gawd, cat310, what a buzzkill!
i hear Saturday Night Live’s lookin’ for a new “church Lady”, maybe that’s gig you should look in to.


avatar Cat310 April 21, 2010 at 4:30 pm

All I’m telling you is that when things get slow at work a well timed random drug test is a sure and defensible way for management to cull the herd.


avatar Jon April 22, 2010 at 8:27 am

You’re such a stinky troll cat. In the words of Jon Stewart….Go fuck yourself.


avatar Frank Gormlie April 22, 2010 at 8:35 am



avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 8:52 am

See you in rehab Jon, same place, same time.


avatar Brian April 22, 2010 at 8:54 am

The problem with random drug tests is sometimes you find out your best employee is a pothead. Oops.


avatar Abby April 23, 2010 at 9:53 am

I think that’s why most companies only test when they hire you, with ample warning and never again after. They’d lose most of their work force!


avatar PSD April 22, 2010 at 8:57 am

Which is what, yet another reason our laws are so disgustingly out of touch?


avatar OB Cindi April 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Hey Cat 310, Dilbert called and he needs you back in his strip as Evil Catbert.

In California, employers are only allowed to drug screen if they have a handbook that every employee signed outlining a drug policy that explains how random drug screens will be conducted and how candidates will be selected. Employment law attorneys are quick to take cases involving “random” drug screenings because these cases tend to have a positive outcome for the employee/ex-employee. Unless the Human Resources Manager can prove employees were legitimately picked at random for a drug test, it appears as harassment and targeting of an employee. Of course, if an employee injures themselves or property at work, or if coworkers are willing to make a written statement as witnesses to smelling pot or alcohol on an employee’s breath, then a court will find “reasonable cause” in favor of the company. But if you are ever asked to give a drug screen and you don’t think you will pass, DON’T TAKE THE DRUG SCREEN AND DON’T SIGN ANYTHING UNTIL YOU TALK TO AN EMPLOYMENT LAW ATTORNEY. Since you have to give your date of birth and social security number to do a drug test, the outcome follows you around and can be admissable in any future court dealings or background checks in determining your character.


avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 12:08 pm

You are absolutley correct. The only problem is most employers will consider it a voluntary termination for refusing to take a drug test. However, as you point out, that is probably a better scenario for somoene who knows they will fail the test than actually taking it. Most HR policies also require a drug test in the event of a recordable or lost time injury.


avatar doug porter April 21, 2010 at 3:29 pm

is it true that somebody slapped an “OB Rag” bumper sticker on the back of a TV 10 News truck?


avatar oBak April 21, 2010 at 4:15 pm
avatar OB Cindi April 22, 2010 at 10:54 am

Hahaha OB Rag sticker on TV 10 News truck. That is good stuff!


avatar Jack April 21, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle….*Cough*….ssssiggghhhh….You means it’s not legal?


avatar Frank Gormlie April 21, 2010 at 8:19 pm

More and more of my babyboomer friends are getting medicinal cards, for as we all grow older, we have ailments that can be lessened with the herbal remedy. Who would have known there’s advantages to growing old – or older I should say.


avatar lane tobias April 22, 2010 at 8:43 am

I tend to think that these outdoor 4/20 celebrations do very little to further the cause of legalization or decriminalization. In places where its no longer illegal to possess a small quantity of pot, smoking it in public is a slap in the face of the folks that passed the laws. In places where medical marijuana is legal, its still illegal to smoke it in public. in places where its still fully illegal, many of these people are risking getting arrested without even knowing they could be taking part in a political action. The lack of education on the subject is the problem, I think. Why in OB, where the attitude about pot is so lax, was there no large group gathering like in other parts of the country where its still technically illegal to consume in public? I think its because people are educated enough on the subject to agree with my perspective.

I dont always think it needs to be consumed indoors, in the safety of your own home. But in public places like the beach, the cliffs, parks, etc….it is the right of those who DONT want it around them not to have it around. Thats why people like Cat are such hardasses about it. Just my “2 cents”.


avatar Sarah April 22, 2010 at 10:59 am

I taught my kids the following concept:

Just because something is illegal does not mean that it is wrong.
Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is right.

Marijuana laws are a perfect example of that concept. The laws against marijuana are so ridiculous as to fall into the catagory of absurd. I do not need a law to tell me it is ok to smoke pot. I’ll take the risk.

“Celebrating” 420 reminds me of the stupid “open carry” events. Going into public to do something simply to make a point that you can do it is a silly waste of time. I wish to smoke pot, I will do so. If someone comes to me and arrests me for it, that will be my time for action. Same thing with a weapon. If I feel the need to own one to protect myself, I will have one. If “they” come to my door and take my gun, then I will deal with it at that time.

As far as smoking on the beach, etc… well, the real issue behind the beach ban is likely to be litter in the form of butts. Pot smoking doesn’t leave a “butt” behind. The other issue in the cigarette smoking “bans” is the air in public facilities and the risks of second hand smoke, so obviously that rule should apply to pot as well as tobacco. It’s simply good manners not to impose your smoke on people who don’t want to inhale it.

The California law says that if you have a card you can smoke anywhere cigarette smoking is allowed, with a few exceptions, such as in a car that is being operated.

Other than that, if I have a medical marijuana card and I want to sit on the curb outside my house and smoke a joint, I can and will do it. Here’s a section of the CA Medical Marijuana law that tells you where a cardholder can’t smoke pot.

11362.79. Nothing in this article shall authorize a qualified
patient or person with an identification card to engage in the
smoking of medical marijuana under any of the following
(a) In any place where smoking is prohibited by law.
(b) In or within 1,000 feet of the grounds of a school, recreation
center, or youth center, unless the medical use occurs within a
(c) On a schoolbus.
(d) While in a motor vehicle that is being operated.
(e) While operating a boat.

Pot laws in the US are crazy. Of course all the makers of anti-depressants will go broke if people finally understand the benefits of a gym membership and a bag of weed.


avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 11:25 am

Did you also tell your kids that Mommy supports her friends in Mexico that grow and smuggle the weed and those friends kill people every day just to so Mommy can sit out on the curb and feel good? So it’s really Mommy who is helping kill those poor people that get in the way of her friends. Probably not, besides you wouldn’t want to get Mommy mad or she’ll ave to go back out on the curb and kill someone else.


avatar Jon April 22, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Weed from Mexico is crap. Nobody buys that stuff anymore. You’re a moron. so…..Gooooooooooo fuck yourself again.


avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Have you ever considered an anger management class?


avatar OB Cindi April 22, 2010 at 12:19 pm

Cat310 = Whitney “Bob-bay” Houston
Your last post was a little delusional, so as a community service to my fellow OBRag readers, let me decipher your post by its key words:

So what I got was, “Mexico smuggles curbs that kill friends.”



avatar lane tobias April 22, 2010 at 2:40 pm

Californians dont smoke Mexican weed. Well, I guess if you go back far enough this used to be Mexico, and if you talk to a Tea Bagger California’s turning into Mexico, so…..I guess in some way, if its grown here, than sure it can be considered Mexican.

The cartels wouldn’t have any power and the violence would subside if we legalized pot and decriminalized cocaine and heroin for addicts, instead offering treatment. We’d also have more money to spend on schools and roads and stuff. Just saying.


avatar Sarah April 22, 2010 at 5:15 pm

I wouldn’t buy weed from Mexico. I never said I’d BUY weed from anyone.

May I suggest a gym membership and a joint?


avatar Ian Rammelkamp April 24, 2010 at 10:03 am

well said, Sarah.


avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 5:08 pm

I applaud you’re thinking, you mention decriminalization, which means working within the system to effect change. That’s a much more constructive approach than sitting on the curb with a handgun in your lap and toking away. If the national feeling is to legalize drugs then that is what should be done, George Soros has thrown money at that for years.


avatar Sarah April 22, 2010 at 5:17 pm

I applaud that you are thinking, too, Cat.

I never said I had a handgun, either. You read a lot of whatever you want to see into the posts today.


avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 6:07 pm

Yes, I had some time on my hands today. I was trying to work in “while her children go hungry” but you didn’t say anything about food so I thought it would be a stretch.


avatar Sarah April 22, 2010 at 6:24 pm

I’m supposed to feed them?



avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm

Ha ha ha!!!


avatar obdog chris April 22, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Hey Jon! Who the hell is this “cat310” chick? Do I know her?


avatar Cat310 April 22, 2010 at 6:35 pm

Maybe you connoisseurs turn up your nose at Mexican weed but someone likes it so I’ll conclude my participation in this article with this piece from todays Log:

Grounded Boat at Catalina Results in $3 Million Drug Bust
SANTA CATALINA ISLAND — Authorities seized 4,000 pounds of marijuana and detained three Mexican nationals after their open 30-foot powerboat — a panga carrying 400 gallons of fuel in onboard barrels and two 250 hp outboard engines — ran aground on Cottonwood Beach, a remote cove on Catalina Island.


avatar Ian Rammelkamp April 24, 2010 at 10:01 am

This is part of the reason why MJ should be legalized in the US. It’ll take the wind out of the cartels in Mexico.


avatar Ali April 23, 2010 at 1:24 pm

Anyone that’s still smoking Mexican dirt weed when high-quality is available is either completely stupid or flat broke. From that article you posted, $3M/4Klbs = $750/pound = $46/oz. That’s Mexican dirt weed.


avatar Shane Finneran April 25, 2010 at 9:10 pm

I don’t agree with much of what Cat310 says, but it’s hard to disagree with the idea that much of the money the typical American weed smoker spends on marijuana ends up in the hands of unsavory folks south of the border:

“The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy … says that more than 60 percent of the profits reaped by Mexican drug lords are derived from the exportation and sale of cannabis to the American market…Government officials estimate that approximately half the marijuana consumed in the United States originates from outside its borders, and they have identified Mexico as far and away America’s largest pot provider.” -deputy director of NORML on Huffington Post 17March2010

And south-of-the-border interests also control some of the weed grown in the US:
“In the northern woods of California, illegal immigrants hired by well-heeled Mexican “patrons,” or bosses, lay miles of plastic pipe and install oscillating sprinkler systems for clandestine fields that produce a cheaper, faster-growing “commercial grade” of marijuana. Eric Sligh, the editor and publisher of Grow magazine in Northern California’s Mendocino County, said the Mexicans use a fast-growing variety of marijuana and time their harvests to periods of low domestic production in the United States…After establishing sophisticated farming networks in California, Washington and Oregon, the Mexican traffickers are shifting operations eastward to Michigan, Arkansas and North Carolina, federal agents say.” –Washington Post 7Oct2009


avatar Cat310 April 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm

Here’s one even funnier than “a man walks into a bar with a monkey…”.
I’m at the Sunrise ICE checkpoint yesterday and the drug sniffing dog starts pawing my tire. Well, you know what that means! After a quick inspection it seems he had a mild interest because we haul our dogs around in that vehicle.


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