Actor Kal Penn, best known as "Kumar" from his roles in the stoner buddy comedies "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle" and "Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo," was robbed at gunpoint while walking in a Washington neighborhood in the early hours of this morning, the entertainment Web site TMZ reports.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ that Penn said a man carrying a gun approached him around 1:20 a.m. and took his wallet and other personal property. Penn promptly reported the incident to D.C. police, who have launched an investigation into the matter.
The news of Penn's robbery carries with it some irony, coming as it does on April 20. "4/20" (or "420") has become a cult holiday among marijuana users and advocates, some of whom stage public smoke-ins on that day as a form of political protest. The term "420" itself has become a code cannabis culturati use to identify one another; according to WIkipedia, it originated with a group of high school students in San Rafael, Calif., who met at 4:20 p.m. to smoke pot at the statue of Louis Pasteur on the San Rafael High School grounds in the 1970s. "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle," a 2004 comedy that paired the Indian-American Penn with Chinese-American John Cho as Harold, satirizes racial assumptions as it follows the two friends on a pot-fueled trip across New Jersey to satisfy their sudden craving for White Castle hamburgers. The film has a cult following among marijuana users as well as the general public.
With a referendum on legalizing marijuana set to go before the voters in California this fall, and with several states, including California, permitting medical use of the drug, marijuana has suddenly become a hot topic again after years in the shadows. Most Americans -- Californians included -- continue to oppose full legalization of marijuana, however: an Associated Press-CNBC poll released today shows only 33 percent of Americans approve of legalization, while 55 percent are opposed.
Written by Sandy Smith
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