What is “420” and Where Did it Come From?
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 04/20/2013 in Medical Marijuana Trends
April 20th, 4:20 a.m. or p.m., regardless of whether or not the sun is up, it’s a holiday among those in industry and the counterculture. This moment, this specific date, this is a coded-term that is used primarily in North America to refer to the consumption of cannabis. This is the pot-smoking Christmas. This is the celebration of a plant that has brought so much healing to those who have suffered. Whether a patient, a stoner, a doctor, a reformer, a spiritualist or an opponent of medical marijuana, today is the day to stop for a minute and appreciate the glory of a simple plant that brings so much joy to many. 4/20 is a time celebrated around the world by pot smokers on every April 20th, and has long been obscured by the clouded, hazy memories of the folks who turned this numbered date into a worldwide phenomenon. However, there have been many rumored stories that have started this crazy, and below shall be the listed rumors around the infamous 4/20.
One of the most-known occurrences of 4/20 referenced in pop culture comes from none other than a simple moment at a cult-famous jam band’s concert, The Grateful Dead. High Times writer Steve Bloom was handed a flyer when wandering the parking lot prior to every Grateful Dead show. Usually, “The Lot” which it was referred to when hippies would spring up and hang out before each show. Here is where Steve was handed a flyer that noted a group was going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for what was called “420-ing”. Originally, 420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late 1970’s. It started as the police code for marijuana being smoked in progress. After local hippies head of the police call, the expression started to be used very commonly when referring to herb. From there, the term 420-ing came about and 4/20 began its slow rise to prominence.
However, it turns out that the story was only partially true, as for the San Rafael part, and the term was actually coined by a group known as the Waldo’s. The Waldo’s coined this term in 1971 and it was by virtue of a hangout spot, a wall outside of their school that directly attributed to this happening. However, this has lead to the college campuses of the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of California, Santa Cruz leading some of the biggest smoke outs in the world. Students and locals will show up around four, light up at 4:20 and then disperse there shortly after. No bands, no speakers and no chants. This has become just a bunch of people getting together and medicating with one another.
The Waldo’s were all athletes and agreed to meet every day outside of school near the statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 p.m., after practice to begin the smoke session. Word was that a Coast Guard Service member could no longer tend to his plot of marijuana plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station, so with a treasure map in hand to the land of free herb, the Waldo’s would begin a journey to score the free bud. Each day the Waldo’s would gather at 4:20 and foray to find the forbidden plot of pot, smoking all the way there and all the way back. Week after week of searching for the plot of plants, the Waldo’s could not find any marijuana anywhere to be found. However, this group of stoners found something even better, a useful code word that has risen to critical acclaim.
From a small group of men who enjoyed medicating more than others, to a jam band that has worldwide notoriety, 4/20 has become a holiday that the counterculture loves and cherishes. So if there is one thing that is for certain, it is that this holiday has a rich history that although cannot be traced so easily, it is for certain notorious and interesting. From the compassionate and caring team at MarijaunaDoctors and the entire Medical Cannabis Network, a happy, healthy and safe 4/20 is wished to all.