the stoner went out into the woods, made sure no one was around, and he took out a small bag of trees and a package of rolling papers. he broke up the weed with his hands and sprinkled it onto a paper. he rolled it up and licked it closed and admired his work.

he smelled it, and it smelled great. he let a match and put it to one end of the joint and inhaled from the other. he held in the smoke, felt it in his lungs, and then exhaled. as the smoke left his mouth, he tasted it on his tongue, and he was high from the taste itself, and he smiled.

he looked around, to make sure no one was listening, and he said:

"there is a smokers’ ethic. there is a morality of marijuana. there is a testament of trees. this is the 420 code. and this code has served us well since the first person inhaled, 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 is comprised of the four virtues and the twenty rules of thumb.

"the four 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, and therefore you must allow yourself to accept that which you do not know.


"honesty does not mean confessing that you smoke to the police. honesty does not mean you must reveal your innermost thoughts to everyone who crosses your path. honesty does not mean you cannot keep a friend’s secret. honesty means that you live as you are. that you do not do what you know you should not. honesty means that you are honest, not with others, but with yourself."


"freedom is not freedom from responsibility. freedom is not freedom from consequence. freedom is openness and honesty. freedom is fun. freedom is the ability to do as you please, which is enabled by openness and honesty. if you are open, and willing to change your mind, if you are honest with yourself, and live as you feel you should, then you are free to do whatever you want. there are no restrictions for a person who is open and free. if you are locked behind bars, you are still yourself. to not be free, you must imprison yourself through dishonesty or closedness."


"fun is the fourth and most important of the virtues: you must not be too serious. if others do not accept the code, you must laugh, not cry. if another hurts you, do not let yourself down. do not judge others: another person can never fail the code. you can only fail it yourself. if you see another who does not live by the code, you should not try to convert him to it. you should just live openly, honestly, and freely, and you should have fun. and if you do these things, you will turn people toward the code: it is not by judgement, or by criticism, or by preaching, that others are brought to the code, but by fun." the stoner inhaled another puff from his joint and looked around the woods: they were beautiful, light and dark, greens and yellows and browns, and the air seemed thick with mystery and wonder. and he smiled as he looked around and said, "the twenty rules of thumb? we’ll get back to those."

and then he went exploring.