4/20 Holiday: The Story Behind A Cannabis Celebration
April 20th, or famous 4/20, is coming and for many cannabis enthusiasts, it is a special time of the year when they get a chance to celebrate the plant, fight for a change in drug policy, and meet friends and fellow weed lovers. If you are new to cannabis and don’t know much about this glorious day, we’re here for you.
The term is used in many ways, but 420 is a symbol which unites cannabis community. 4/20 grew from an inside joke of a single group of smokers to the ongoing movement for nationwide legalization of medical and recreational cannabis. Here’s a crash course in all things 420.
Who and how invented 420?
The origin story of 420 is covered with rumors and urban legends. You have probably heard about theories based on the number of chemical compounds in cannabis, a mysterious 4:20 p.m. tea time in Holland, or its connection to Bob Marley’s birthday. None of these is true.
The 420 story originated in the fall of 1971, at San Rafael High School in San Francisco area. A group of students who called themselves “the Waldos” got a map that led to an abandoned cannabis patch somewhere in the forest of the Point Reyes Peninsula.
The Waldos were athletes, so they decided to meet at their school’s Louis Pasteur statue after their team practices were over. And, as you can guess — at 4:20 p.m. They would smoke weed and then go to the forest with the map, looking for the abandoned grow.
The search took weeks. Every day they planned to go searching, the Waldos would say to each other “4:20 Louie” which meant that they would meet at their usual time and place. Eventually, it was shortened to 420.
The grow was never found, but the Waldos kept using their code phrase to signal that it was time to smoke. Later, this code phrase began to mean anything cannabis-related.
At that time, The Grateful Dead relocated from San Francisco to San Rafael. One Waldo’s older brother was a manager of two Grateful Dead sidebands and a close friend and a smoking buddy of bassist Phil Lesh. Thus, the Waldos gained access to Grateful Dead shows, rehearsals, and parties. From here, the phrase got spread across the nation.
In the early ’90s, High Times began using it. Over the years 420 has established itself as a cultural phenomenon, especially influencing social media and online community.
The Waldos keep their old batik 420 flag and other memorabilia locked away in a bank vault in SF. All five are still in touch with each other and proud of their contribution to the cannabis community.
Should I celebrate 420?
Today, 420 is widely embraced as a holiday for cannabis enthusiasts around the world. If you want to join the celebration, you can attend a legalization march, go to a local event or just spend your time with friends and your favorite cannabis product.
Just one more thing: whatever you choose, consume responsibly. Be smart about the way you celebrate. Remember to hydrate and never drive under the influence of cannabis.
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(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)