The origins of 420
The number "420" has become synonymous with cannabis culture, but its origins remain shrouded in mystery and myth. Despite its uncertain origins, the term has become a ubiquitous part of cannabis culture and is celebrated each year on April 20th, known as "420 Day."
One of the most popular myths surrounding the origin of 420 is that it was the police code for marijuana use in progress. However, this theory has been thoroughly debunked. Another theory suggests that 420 is the number of active chemicals in cannabis, which is also not true.
The true origin of 420 can be traced back to a group of high school students in San Rafael, California in the early 1970s. The group, known as the "Waldos," would meet at 4:20 p.m. every day after school to smoke cannabis and search for a rumored hidden cannabis crop.
One of the Waldos had a connection to a member of the Grateful Dead, and they began using "420" as a code word for cannabis when discussing it in front of parents and teachers. The term quickly caught on and became synonymous with cannabis use in their community.
The Waldos went on to attend college in the San Francisco Bay Area, where they continued to use the term and share it with their friends in the cannabis community. In 1990, a group of Grateful Dead fans who had heard the term decided to hold a cannabis celebration on April 20th, at 4:20 p.m., in Golden Gate Park. The event drew a large crowd, and the tradition of celebrating "420 Day" was born.
Today, "420" is widely recognized as a term for cannabis use and is celebrated by cannabis enthusiasts around the world. The origins of the term may have been humble, but its impact on popular culture has been significant. The story of the Waldos and the birth of 420 is a testament to the power of youth culture and the enduring influence of subcultures in shaping popular culture.