'The Most Stoned Kids on the Most Stoned Campus on Earth'

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Above photo: Not Moppy and Molly

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What exactly did 4/20 look like on a college campus a decade ago? In 2004′s “The Fully Baked Adventures of Moppy and Molly,” published in Rolling Stone (pdf), Vanessa Grigoriadis profiled a young couple celebrating at UC Santa Cruz:

The first 4:20 for Molly and Moppy came at 4:20 A.M.—they set the alarm next to Molly’s bed for 4:12, which was enough time to pack celebratory bong loads and snuggle back under the covers. Later that day, after classes are over, Moppy and Molly pass a couple in the middle of a fight, something about who should be taking care of the dog. “It’s 4/20!” Molly shrieks. “It’s a good day, man!” They link up with a couple of friends who are having a long, involved conversation about the etymology of 4/20: Ideas range from a police code fro possession; the number of chemicals in THC; the number of molecules in marijuana; the address of the Grateful Dead’s home in Haight-Ashbury; the date Haile Selassie first visited Jamaica. It’s also Hitler’s birthday and the anniversary of Columbine. “I think it’s a marketing tool for the big pot growers, who harvest on 4/20,” says one guy.

“Crazy, dude,” says Moppy.

Students are swarming into the meadow from every direction. From the top of the hill, there’s a cloud of marijuana smoke hanging just under the tree line, and you can hear the drum circles going and everyone hollering and hugging one another. The guy who had shaved a marijuana leaf and the number 420 into his hair last year is nowhere to be seen, but there’s a freshman dressed up like Cheech and a much-discussed twelve-inch joint. Molly, who’s wearing a fuzzy white Kangol hat that looks like a snowball, dropped a few of her cupcake on the way, which is a nice ground-score for someone, but she passes around the rest to Sasha and some bongo players. “I just got here,” says Sasha. “We were at home doing solar rips [lighting a bong with a magnifying glass and sunlight], trying to tell from the angle of the sun what time it was. We thought it was 2:30, and it was almost four, dude.”

Four-twenty itself is like New Year’s at a party without a TV. People start spontaneously hugging. “My fuzz is attracting weird frequencies,” says a guy with a white fuzzy hat identical to Molly’s, and they rub heads together. At 4:25, a cop car pulls into the meadow at about a mile an hour. The cop gets out and stands next to the car. There’s only one of him. But half the people in the meadow start streaming out nonetheless, like a videotape run in reverse. “Run for the woods!” Molly screams.

(Full story available as a PDF from vanessagrigoriadis.com)

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Photo: Flickr, US National Archives

Julia Wick is a contributing editor for Longreads.
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