Origins of 4/20

April 20th or 4/20 has become known around the world as a holiday for cannabis culture by users and non-users alike, but few actually know the origins behind this date.


Some say “420” is code among police officers for “marijuana smoking in progress”. Others note 4/20 is Adolf Hitler’s birthday. And even look to Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” because 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420.


But the most credible story traces the origins of 420 to San Rafael, California. In 1971, five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 pm, after their extracurricular activities, to smoke weed. This group of young men became known as the “Waldos” by virtue of their chosen hangout spot- by a wall. They would say “420” to each other as code for marijuana.


Years later, in the early ‘90s, outside of a Grateful Dead concert in Oakland, California, flyers circulated that invited people to smoke “420” on April 20 at 4:20 pm. One was given to a then-reporter for High Times magazine, an authority on cannabis culture. The magazine printed the flyer in 1991 and continued to reference the number from then on. Soon, it became known worldwide as code for marijuana. In 1998, the outlet attributed the creation of the term “420” to the Waldos.


Today, nearly 50 years later, the term 420 and 4/20 is widely known and celebrated. With the ongoing legalization of marijuanna and cannabis, 4/20 is becoming less of a counterculture holiday and more of an opportunity to celebrate holistic remedies, natural health, and overall wellness. However you choose to celebrate this year, we are wishing you health, wellness, and happiness this 4/20. 



Photo Credit: https://www.ctvnews.ca/lifestyle/how-a-group-of-teens-long-strange-trip-led-to-the-4-20-pot-holiday-1.3894382 

A number of photos from the early 1970s showing the Waldos that are stored in their bank vault in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)