At 4:20 p.m. this afternoon a certain pungent odor may arise along Humboldt Street in the Santa Rosa Junior College neighborhood.
Marijuana will be smouldering in many other places, as well, at 4:20 on 4/20 — April 20 — a day embedded in popular culture, or at last pot culture, as a high time to get high.
"Everybody knows 420," said Nicholas Aranda, 19, a Santa Rosa resident who posted a weed-burning invitation last week on Craigslist.
"Meet up at your local traffic circles & get high," Aranda's posting said, citing the "best areas" on Humboldt as the two blocks between McConnell and Silva avenues.
"I've just been telling people, &‘Dude, let's meet up on the streets,'" Aranda said in an uninhibited interview, considering the illegal nature of his intentions.
Others were more circumspect in discussing 420, which is variously defined as a "worldwide burn time," a "toker's New Year's Day" or simply as "national pot smoker's day."
High Times, the magazine devoted to its name, said 420 "is not so much a time or place as it is a state of mind. A stoned state of mind, to be specific."
Michael Spielman, executive director of Santa Rosa-based Drug Abuse Alternatives Center, said he's aware of the 420 phenomenon.
Marijuana can cause amotivational<NO1>cq<NO> syndrome, a "loss of motivation to accomplish things," said Spielman, whose nonprofit agency is the county's largest provider of addiction treatment services.
In youths age 12 to 17, marijuana consumption can inhibit emotional growth, as teens get stoned rather than deal with issues, Spielman said.