NEW YORK (TheStreet --It wasn't long ago that April 20th was just another day. Now, it's become the de facto National Marijuana Celebration day, and companies are lining-up to sponsor a 420 event.The origin of the use of 420 as a code word for pot has been debated. Some attribute it to the time of day when high schoolers at San Rafael High School in California got together to smoke, others to High Times editor Steve Hager suggesting that 4:20pm is an ideal time to get stoned. For a long time, it was thought to be a police code for marijuana smokers but that myth debunked. Regardless, 420 is now becoming the subject of festivals and concerts, especially in Colorado and Washington state, where medicinal marijuana is legal. Even in Texas, which hasn't relaxed its marijuana laws, there are at least 10 events in Houston alone featuring the 420 moniker. So, bring on the sponsors? Well, gingerly. Mainstream companies aren't quite ready to embrace illegal drugs just yet, but they are sampling the market. Red Bull reached out to "fine"marijuana grower Diego Pellicer as a potential sponsor for the 420 Fest in Colorado. RedBull is a famous energy drink out of Austria known for being edgy and catering to the youth generation. Although it seems to be an oxymoron to pair an energy drink with the relaxing nature of cannabis. Publicly-traded GrowLife ( PHOT)is a co-sponsor of the 420Fest in Colorado. CEO Sterling Scott said, "Colorado is the place to be." He went on to say, "We are pleased to be able to support this cultural and musical event. It has the making of Woodstock for this generation." Colorado is also benefiting from tourists traveling to the state to celebrate the two day 420 festival. Coincidentally, earlier this week, House Bill 1523 Respect State marijuana Laws Act was introduced in Congress, which essentially will allow states to set their own laws with regards to pot. It is one of several pending before Congress now. GrowLife supports HR 1523. Scott believes that as the laws move towards taxing and regulation of pot, more companies will jump into sponsorships.
In Miami, Nug Brand clothing is a sponsor for a 420 event. The company specializes in cannabis apparel and accessories. Cavigold Records is a sponsor of the HempFest in Seattle. Houston has several 420 events and sponsors of the 420 one Love Event include locally made DASH Vodka and Angels Envy Whiskey and FatCat Creamery, Norml ( The national organization for the reform of marijuana laws) is the sponsor of many 420 events, along with local media. A review a various events around the country demonstrate strong involvement of local businesses, like legal defense. Of course many sponsors are local smoke shops and food companies. One can only imagine the future sponsors of 420 events as marijuana comes closer to being legal. Munchies? Diamond Foods ( DMND)and J&J Snack Foods ( JJSF)seem like good choices. Thirsty? Anheuser Busch ( BUD), this bud's for you. Finally, a sponsorship event that would welcome big tobacco like Altria ( MO)or Reynolds ( RAI). How about Martha Stewart ( MSO)for your tie dye needs? According to US Government's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Data Archive (SAMHDA), almost half of pot smokers are in the sought after 18-25 year old demographic. Since this generation no longer watches television or reads magazines, 420 festivals may be the best new way to reach this crowd. --Written by Debra Borchardt in New York. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Debra Borchardt. Follow @WallandBroad