Today is April 20th, which translates to the unofficial official holiday of stoners everywhere. Over the years, 420 has evolved into a cultural phenomenon, yet many people do not know why the particular number/time has become synonymous with blazing like there will not be another 420 next year. We want to dispel any myths that may make you look foolish in your powwow circle during this crucial holiday, as well as give you some other 420-related facts to pass around.
First let’s get the actual origin story of 420 out in the open.
The most widely believed story comes out of Marin County, Calif. In 1971, five students at San Rafael High School would reportedly meet at that magical time by the campus’s statue of chemist Louis Pasteur to partake. Two of these students, David Reddix and Steve Capper, wrote an article for The Huffington Post about how this group—known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall—would say the digits to each other as code for marijuana.
A brother of a group member apparently knew Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, so the band is said to have helped popularize the term. On Dec. 28, 1990, Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers reportedly inviting people to smoke “420” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m—and one got in the hands of Steve Bloom, a former reporter for High Times magazine, an authority on cannabis culture. Once the publication published the flyer in 1991 and continued to reference the number, it became known throughout the world for its association with marijuana. In 1998, the outlet recognized the “Waldos” as the “inventors” of 420 after they came forward. So in a small part we can thank Father Mushroom for fathering the classic holiday.
Now that that’s been settled, here are some actual 420 facts to pass around.
In Ontario, Canada, in the ’60s, marijuana grew freely on one of the highways. This highway was later renamed in 1972 as Highway 420.
420 Marks Phi.Hi Day where members advocate the non stereotypical benefits, social and personal advantages of smoking herbs while advocating the social benefits and entrepreneurial advantages of letting a little creativity into or come out of your mind with the philosophy being that we don’t haze…just blaze. The day also brings about an opportunity to share their goodies with everyone by either hosting a free cake sale, or a free block party.
There are many reports that Marijuana has exactly 420 active chemicals, unfortunately that coincidence is not true. There is a total of only 315 active chemicals in marijuana.
One of the biggest pro-pot rallies is the annual smoke out on the campus of the University of Colorado at Boulder. The rally has taken place for about a decade and, in recent years, attendance has grown, according to university spokesman Bronson Hilliard. Last year, more than 10,000 people showed up to light up on the campus’ Norlin quad.
The number 420 is not police radio code for anything officially to do with marijuana. Checks of criminal codes suggest that the origin is neither Californian nor federal. Some jurisdictions of law enforcement do use the code 420 for juvenile disturbance, so in that circumstance we can see where the tale could have started from.
Unfortunately it is a fact that Adolph Hitler’s Birthday lies on April 20th, but also on that list of famous celebrities that have birthdays today are professional hottie Carmen Electra, football star Luke Kuechly, film legend Jessica Lange, CGI master actor Andy Serkis, and Star Trek Original/Internet sensation George Takei.
The last fact that we would like to pass on this holiday of hot boxing is that no matter how you celebrate 420, please do it smart. Be discrete and mindful of your surroundings. Always follow your local rules and regulations, and remember, this is a time of celebration, not a day to shove cannabis culture down someone else’s throat.