The number 420, the date 4/20, and the time 4:20 have all become symbols of the cannabis culture. But what is the meaning of 420? And what is its origin?
In the marijuana community, April 20th, or 4/20, is the unofficial cannabis holiday. For a lot of daily cannabis consumers, 4:20pm (and for some, am) is a daily cannabis session that occurs at 4:20pm. Because of this, “420” has become simple shorthand for the act of smoking cannabis, or even as a slang for cannabis itself. But where did this seemingly random number, date and time come from, and how did it become such an integral part of the cannabis community?
As pointed out by Herb.co; “There was a group of 5 San Rafael high school students who called themselves the “Waldo’s”. The nickname came from their favorite hangout spot, a wall nearby the high school.” The Waldo’s heard of a marijuana crop that was hidden near the San Reyes peninsula, and agreed to meet at a statue of Louis Pasteur near the school to seek cannabis. The group “would meet week after week in the same spot at the same time, they would pile into their car and smoke joint after joint on their way to search for the mystical marijuana crop.”
The group would initially used the term “420-Louis” as their code to schedule a meeting; they eventually dropped the “Louis” moniker and started using simply “420”.
“I could say to one of my friends, I’d go; ‘420,’ and it was telepathic”, says Steve Capper, an original Waldo. “He would know if I was saying, ‘Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?’ Or, ‘Do you have any?’ Or, ‘Are you stoned right now?’ It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it”.
From then on, the term and its use grew within the cannabis community. Decades later, it’s synonymous with the culture.
So, this 4/20, make sure to take a toke for the Waldo’s.