Ganja Industry Disconnect, Should 4/20 Be Peter Tosh Day?

While this is yet to be any sort of debate, being based in Jamaica, the birthplace of the legendary Peter Tosh, when 4/20 rolls around a few cannasseurs gather to consume ganja in peace and harmony with nature and much of the world. It’s a day celebrated by persons with a deeper relationship with the plant and its place in popular culture. Since the 60s and 70s we’ve been graced with the terrestrial journeys of some of international world’s most indelible icons. Many are still bearers of the torch in the march towards legalization and social acceptance of the herb. Some have left us with deeply embedded impressions that will persist for generations to come. One such individual is Peter Tosh. 

In 2019, “New York State Senator Kevin Parker on Thursday issued a New York State proclamation for Jamaica reggae icon, Peter Tosh for this year’s renewal of the national observance of 4/20” according to a Jamaica Gleaner article. Senator Parker remarked, ““It is the privilege of this legislative body to honour Peter Tosh for his exemplary service and humanitarianism upon the illustrious occasion of the 4/20 Peter Tosh celebration.”  This was on 4/20, 2019. 

“This definitely says so much about the work that my father did and will go a far way in continuing the struggle. The day, 4/20, has always been a day to celebrate marijuana, ganja, cannabis, weed, herb… whatever you call it. When you look at it like that, we really could not celebrate without looking at the experiences of my father who sacrificed, worked, sang anthems about it and was, in many ways, a pioneer in bringing marijuana to the forefront,” she told the Jamaica Observer during an interview from her base in the United States.

The truth is, Tosh is yet to even be named a National Hero in Jamaica despite calls for such in the past, Dr Michael Barnett, renowned senior lecturer in the Department of Sociology and Psychology and Social Work, The University of the West Indies, Mona campus, stated,“This year (2020) with Peter Tosh’s ‘earthday’ falling on National Heroes Day, it is something of a national mystic. I, along with others within the Peter Tosh Earthday Celebration Committee, feel that Peter Tosh, who presently holds the Order of Merit, should be considered for an upgrade to national hero status,” Barnett shared with The Gleaner. “I say this on the basis that Peter Tosh, along with others such as Bob Marley and Miss Lou), actually meets the criteria for national hero status.”

Is the a rebranding of 4/20 or rebranding of Peter Tosh? Peter Tosh should be lauded for his significant contribution through song, speech and persona and a day in reverence if him is overdue, as is a formal day to celebrate Bob Marley’s achievements and personality. This is one of many topics we will take up at the upcoming Ganjactivist.com Caribbean Cannabis Summit, Cannabis Exchange & Trade Show this June 30th – July 3rd, 2022, in Negril, Jamaica. 

We sat down with a few of our workshop hosts and panelists on 4/20 to discuss the event, their work and 4/20 as a celebratory day or Peter Tosh Day.  See the conversation here:

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