About a hundred people gathered at Overton Park for the annual unofficial 4/20 celebration on what’s become known as the national day to celebrate marijuana and support its legalization.
One of those people is Jeff Williams, who said he’s been celebrating 4/20 at Overton Park for 15 years.
“For some people, 4/20 is about marijuana, but for me, it’s just a day to celebrate,” said Williams. “We’re hanging out with people, pulling the blankets out, kids are dancing. I personally don’t smoke. A lot of people out here don’t do it.”
The gathering began at noon and was slated to last until 7 p.m.
Unlike year’s prior, the park didn’t boast clouds of smoke and there were no arrests as of 3 p.m. Just frisbees flying through the air, dogs running freely, and people relaxing on blankets while enjoying live music.
In 2010, police made about 30 arrests, including one felony drug charge, on 4/20 Day at the park.
Members of the University of Memphis chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) — which seeks to promote the legalization of marijuana — were present at the park this year.
Dindie Donelson, president of NORML’s U of M chapter, said legalizing marijuana would not only benefit those who smoke it recreationally, but those with cancer and other health problems.
“Cancer patients receiving chemotherapy is a very painful and a very stressful situation,” Donelson said. “A person will not only not want to eat, but they’re extremely sick and they vomit profusely. It’s been proven that the chemicals in marijuana eases vomiting and brings forth an appetite.”
Donelson said legalizing marijuana and placing a tax on it would also help strengthen the economy.
According to the book, “Concepts of Chemical Dependency,” by Harold E. Doweiko, marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit substance on this planet. Globally, an estimated 166 million people over the age of 15 use it on a regular basis.
The book also stated that each day, approximately 6,000 people in the U.S. use marijuana for the first time.
Quenel Williams said he’s smoked marijuana since he was in middle school. Now a college student, he said 4/20 has become a day that he takes time out to celebrate his appreciation for cannabis sativa.
“I’ll get together with a couple of friends and smoke, have fun, and chill,” Williams said. “I feel that marijuana is good as long as you don’t abuse it, just like anything. I think it should be legalized. Basically, everybody smokes. It’s so easy to get now, so it should be legal.”