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Backers of legalized marijuana use 4:20 on 4/20 to make their case at Capitol

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Did supporters of legalized marijuana light a fire under the Minnesota Legislature on 4/20, or were they just blowing smoke?

Perhaps some of each, as advocates of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana held a "Yes, We Cannabis" rally on the Capitol steps Monday.

The Star Tribune reports a cloud of marijuana smoke wafted from the demonstration toward the Capitol dome, as supporters called for the weed to be regulated and taxed.

April 20, at 4:20 p.m., has become a traditional rallying time for marijuana supporters.

Supporters earlier held an indoor rally which, because of Capitol renovations, was moved to a church across the street, KARE 11 reports.

KSTP says speakers there made note of the racial disparity in arrests under existing marijuana laws, saying African-Americans are arrested more than 11 times as often as whites.

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Why 4/20?

Ryan Grim, writing for the Huffington Post, delved deeply into the mystery of why and how 420 became the rallying point for marijuana users – prefacing his tale by noting there are "as many answers as strains of medical bud in California."

One explanation many thought to be authentic traces it to the code used by police in San Rafael, Calif., to refer to marijuana smoking in progress. That gained credence when a former reporter for the newspaper High Times shared a flyer that was circulated outside a Grateful Dead concert in 1990.

But Huffington Post dug deeper, saying the police code story does not pan out. Instead, they traced 420 to a group of five San Rafael high school students in 1971, for whom 4:20 was the regular meeting time for their forays in search of a rumored marijuana farm that had been left unattended.

They apparently found "420" to be a useful code to use in the presence of teachers and parents.

These days, it's used as a rallying cry around the country by those pushing to legalize use of the weed.

In Minnesota, use of marijuana to treat certain medical conditions becomes legal on July 1. The law allows patients to take the drug in pill, vapor, or oil form but does not permit smoking it.

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