In the beginning…

The stoner went out into the woods and made sure no one was around.

He took out a small bag of trees and a pack of rolling papers. He crumbled the trees with his hands and sprinkled them onto a page. He rolled it up and licked it shut and admired what he had made.

He smelled it, and it smelled great. He struck a match and lit the tip and took a hit. He held the smoke in his lungs, and then he let it go. As the smoke poured out of his mouth, he tasted it and smiled.

“There is a smokers’ ethic, a morality of Mary Jane, a testament of trees. This is the 420 Code. It has served us well since the very first hit, and it will serve us well until it is embraced by all, and once it is embraced by all, we will no longer need it.


“The 420 Code consists of the 4 Virtues and the 20 Rules of Thumb. The 4 Virtues are Openness, Honesty, Freedom, and Fun.

“Openness means a welcoming of new experience. Openness means a receptiveness to new ideas. Openness means that you know that you do not know everything.

“From Openness, flows Honesty.

“Honesty does not mean confessing you smoke to the cops. Honesty does not mean you are blunt or rude. Honesty means that you live as you are. Honesty means that you do what you know you should. Honesty means that you are honest, not with others, but with yourself.

“From Honesty, flows Freedom.

“Freedom is not freedom from responsibility or consequence. Freedom is the ability to do as you please. If you are open and willing to change your mind, if you are honest with yourself and live as you should, then you are free. Even if you are locked behind bars, you are still yourself. Only you can take away your freedom.

“And from these three, flows Fun.”

“Fun is the 4th and most important of the virtues: you must not be too serious, for all the worst things are done seriously. If others do not accept the Code, you must laugh, not cry. If another hurts you, you must not let yourself down. Do not judge others: no one else can fail the Code, you can only fail it yourself.

“If people do not live by the Code, do not rebuke them, but learn from their mistakes. For it is not by judgement nor criticism nor preaching that others are brought to the Code, but by fun.”

The stoner took another hit from his joint and looked around the woods: they were beautiful, speckled with greens and yellows and browns, and the air was thick with mystery and wonder.

And so he went exploring, on the lookout for the 20 Rules of Thumb.