What’s the story behind 4/20 celebrations, also known as Weed Day?
The pandemic could have been fun on April 20th, aka Stoner’s Christmas this year. But we have a story behind the 4/20 celebration – one to talk about while smoking a pot in our bubbles. After all, like any other festival, the story of April 20th needs to be kept alive.
The phrase “420 friendly” in a description of the rental advertisement could bring a smile to a pot user looking for a home. This well-known and widely used code word in the cannabis community was first used in 1971. “420” meant marijuana – an illegal drug at the time. It’s illegal in most places even today.
About five decades ago, four students invented the term “420” in San Rafael, a town 18 miles from San Francisco in Marin County, California. No wonder the 2003 California Senate Medical Marijuana Bill was named SB420. Although the term has no logical connection with cannabis, it does have one with smoking time.
Louis Pasteur’s statue at San Rafael High School. (Image credit: Sapphic)
A group of young high school boys, also known as Waldos – apparently their meeting point was a wall outside the school – who wanted to meet in front of the statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 p.m. in front of the school. According to the Huffington Post, their meeting code was “420-Louis”. You should travel in search of marijuana plants grown by a Coast Guard member who was unable to maintain his property near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard. They smoked a pot and began their search every day at 4:20 pm with the help of a treasure map. Unfortunately, even after many days, they were unsuccessful. Eventually, ‘Louis’ was removed from the code. ‘420’ became a hit and stayed with pot users forever.
The Waldos then used the term 420 for “Hey, do you want to have a smoke?” Or: “Do you have any?” Or: “Have you just stoned?” This is what Steve Waldos, an original Waldos member, told the Huffington Post. It was telepathic enough to understand “all weeds” with various gestures and intonations, and no one else could guess.
The Waldos literally saved so many young smokers from being caught by families and teachers that 420 became a well-known code, especially in the West. Now parents and teachers could pretend they don’t know what 420 is, in fact, they do! But how did this scary code spread everywhere?
Thanks to High Times magazine, it seems. A flyer that reads, “We will meet on April 20 at 4:20 am for the 420th in Marin County at the sunset location of Bolinas Ridge on the mountain. Tamalpais ”was found by Steven Bloom, a reporter for the magazine. Bloom shared it with the Huffington Post. In 1990 Bloom received the Flyer as Deadhead at a Grateful Dead concert. This explains its widespread use in California. But High Magazine also made the code famous by publishing a story about it.
This is really a 4/20 story. Explaining the story of 420 is as complex as the properties and effects of 420, one would say.
Are you looking for other ways to get into the spirit of April 20th this year? Take a look at our 420 Wordsearch! Also, watch the video below to refresh your memories of the April 20, 2019 celebration: