What Is 520 – Learn About 520 Cannabis Freedom Day Explained

What is the meaning of 520, and what is 520 Cannabis Freedom Day? You’re probably familiar with 420, which is slang for marijuana. If someone is “420 friendly,” they’re letting you know they’re a fellow smoker, or, at the very least, they don’t mind if you imbibe. Cannabis enthusiasts celebrate April 20 every year by toking up with the rest of the world.

But does 520 have the same meaning? Some smokers recognize the 520 meaning as slang for high-quality or hard-to-get cannabis. The term also refers to cannabis-themed events that occur on 520, which is May 20 in the US.

But there’s a new meaning behind 520 (pronounced five-twenty). 520 is a new, unique holiday not just about celebrating cannabis (although it’s still partly rejoicing with weed). It also brings awareness to the social, racial, and economic injustices of marijuana’s criminalization.

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520 101

520 Cannabis Freedom Day is a widespread movement spotlighting the systemic injustice of marijuana laws that unfairly target Black men and women across the US. Rap mogul Master P (aka Percy Miller) leads the charge in recognizing May 20 as Cannabis Freedom Day.

The 520 Cannabis Freedom Day movement advocates widespread legislative transformation and freedom for people imprisoned for selling weed. Miller considers the date a new holiday celebrating the end of a prisoner’s incarceration and creating progressive change across legislative and judicial landscapes.

420 celebrates a product, but 520, Cannabis Freedom Day, honors those affected by these petty crimes and encourages the continuation of this critical movement.

Why Do We Need 520 Cannabis Freedom Day?

In this Cross Faded Master P interview with Lavall Chichester, Founder and CEO of FlavorFix.com, Chichester mentions the ridiculously high incarceration rates and the misrepresentation of minorities in jail for cannabis. He also states that from a business standpoint, very few People of Color (POC) can even break into the cannabis industry and make a profit.

In this same episode, Master P discusses the injustice and inequality of marijuana laws. The meaning of 520 Cannabis Freedom Day is to change the narrative and bring awareness to this significant issue.

How 520 Cannabis Freedom Day Began

In 2008, Fate Vincent Winslow, a 47-year-old Black man, and father, was living on the streets when an undercover police officer approached him. The police officer first asked Winslow to find him a sex worker. Winslow declined. The undercover officer then asked Winslow for some weed, giving him a 20-dollar bill.

Unfortunately, this is the part of the story where everything goes wrong.

Winslow found a white pot dealer he knew and purchased $20 worth of weed. He returned to the officer, who then handed Winslow $5 for his part in the deal.

The police officers later found the marked 20-dollar bill on the white pot dealer, but they arrested Winslow anyway. The case went to trial, where the judge sentenced Fate Winslow to life without parole for being a middleman in a small-time pot deal.

Or, as most equality-minded individuals would see it, for being a Black man living in a country with unequal justice and unfair laws that target Black communities.

Doing Time for Petty Crime

Louisiana State Penitentiary, known as Angola, is a vast prison industrial complex that sits on former slave plantation land. That’s where Winslow cleaned dorms for $0.80 a week while entrepreneurs were making millions selling the same plant that landed him a life sentence.

In 2020, Winslow turned 53 in prison. By that time, over a dozen states had legalized recreational cannabis usage.

In the summer of 2019, Louisiana changed a law connected to post-conviction sentencing. Jee Park, Winslow’s lawyer from the Innocence Project New Orleans, successfully argued that Winslow was not provided with adequate representation upon his initial sentencing.

The judge then sentenced Winslow to 12 years in prison, the time he had already served.

In December 2020, Fate Vincent Winslow walked out of Angola a free man, filled with joy.

An Unfortunate Ending

After four months of enjoying his newfound freedom, Winslow died when he was gunned down sitting in a car in Shreveport. His community pulled funds together to give him a proper funeral and grieve the loss of a Black man who was a victim of the unjust criminal system that over-incarcerates the Black community, especially for minor marijuana offenses.

How 520 Cannabis Freedom Day Is Helping

Music mogul Master P is now using Winslow’s story to prompt conversations about the incarceration rates of Black men and women who remain in prison for selling insignificant amounts of weed while it’s already legalized in 34 states.

Master P and The Ice Cream Shop celebrate the life of Fate Vincent Winslow by making sure this injustice doesn’t happen to more people. 520 Cannabis Freedom Day is a way to raise awareness and increase momentum in the movement to fight the unfair system that targets the Black community.

Rates of drug use by Black adults are similar to or even lower than those of white adults. Yet, data shows black adults are over 2.5 times more likely to be arrested for drug possession and almost four times more likely to be arrested just for possession of marijuana.

Embracing the Meaningful 520 Movement

By embracing the meaningful 520 Cannabis Freedom Day movement, you’re not only celebrating cannabis but also boosting the public perception of the social, racial, and economic injustices that come with marijuana’s criminalization.

On 520/2021, millions of people across the US and the world revelled in this new holiday by smoking weed, celebrating freedom, and encouraging legislative and judicial change.

Around the world, people are planning National Cannabis Freedom Festivals for 520/2022 to celebrate the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana and give hope to those who continue to be unfairly punished.

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JJ Smoak

Brooklyn native, accent-having, travel lover, wordsmith and bud enthusiast. Versed from the streets of NYC, mixed with some world influence, writer/editor and medical user extraordinaire, JJ is here to tell you like it is and guide you to the finest. Brooklyn's favorite feminine stoner, your neighborhood contributor, wrapping leaves like a bandage and bringing you along for the ride.

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