Everybody’s heard a different version of the origin of 420. It’s either a police code for smoking in progress, it was started by Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead or your friend’s college started it in the sixties. There are a lot of legends but only one definitive account of the history of 4/20 (with evidence to back it up), So let’s get to the root of the term that’s become culturally ubiquitous for one thing: consuming cannabis.
The year was 1971 in San Rafael, California. Five high school students who called themselves the “Waldos” (for a chosen hang-out spot by a wall outside school) began searching for an abandoned cannabis crop in the nearby Point Reyes Forest. The students, all athletes, would meet after sports practice at 4:20 by a Louis Pasteur statue to get stoned and head out to search for the hidden crop. While they never found the elusive stash, they did create a convenient code for consumption. One of the original Waldos, Steve Capper, told the Huffington Post, “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis, and we eventually dropped the Louis.”
The Waldos managed to invent the term 420, but its rise to cannabis vernacular domination is even more intriguing. It all starts with the Dead. One of the original members of the Waldos, Dave Reddix, had an older brother that was good friends with Phil Lesh, the Grateful Dead bassist. Once the term caught on within the band’s smoking circles and backstage, the Deadheads also adopted the phrase and it spread like wildfire through hippie culture.
The term did not reach popular stoner culture until 1990 when Steven Bloom, a reporter for High Times, found an old Deadhead flyer indicating a meetup “at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing.” Once High Times, the preeminent cannabis publication of the time, got a hold of the story it was further adopted into larger cannabis circles and the term became even more widely used.
Today, the unofficial holiday is celebrated worldwide with festivals and meetups all across legalized states in the U.S. While it is illegal to consume cannabis in public, April 20th is often seen by many as a day to push back against the status quo and openly consume a medicinal drug that has been historically repressed by mainstream society and the federal government.
Whether you’ve used the term 420 once to make a joke about your upcoming smoke session or, like Phil Lesh, view 4:20 as the socially acceptable hour of the day to consume cannabis, 4/20 is a great excuse to celebrate cannabis and appreciate its benefits. It’s also a great excuse to share a dab or vape with friends and marvel at our good fortune to live in a state where cannabis is legal.
We believe cannabis is something to be celebrated – not just in April, but year-round. Of course, we hope you’ll invite us to the party by checking out our lineup of brands and products that are perfect for sharing or personal sessions. Whether you’re a daily dabber or a complete newcomer to cannabis, rest assured that we’ve got the right product for you. And you can relax knowing that all our oils and concentrates are always pure and additive free, and that every gram we produce comes from fresh whole flower. Happy 420!