History and origins of 420

history and origins of the 420 13

What is the 420? The story of weed's biggest day

420, 4:20 or 4/20 is an expression used in America and around the world, as a more or less discreet reference to the consumption of cannabis. But also and above all, by extension, a way of identifying with the counter-culture surrounding cannabis. 4/20 also refers to the time of day when it is 16:20 pm (4:20 pm), the best time to smoke a joint. The 4/20 is also the name of the various spontaneous gatherings that take place in several places in the world, at 16:20 p.m. on April 20 (at 4:20 a.m. on the 20th of the 4th month), where the participants campaign for the recovery because of the cannabis legislation.

The Waldos

There are several theories which attempt to explain the expression, one of the most widespread being that a group of young teenagers originated in 1971. They would meet at twenty past eight to smoke together after the end of classes under. the statue of Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High School in California.

Apparently, in 1971 in Northern California at San Rafael High School, this group of teenagers - the Waldos - found a map that allegedly led to a marijuana field in Point Reyes. The legend said that this field would have been abandoned by a side guard. They would meet up after school at 16:20 p.m. at their usual place, the wall (Wall in English, hence their name Waldos) and head towards northwestern California.

After searching for this treasure for several weeks, the myth took a toll on their motivation and they gave up… They never found the treasure, but rather than dwell on the defeat, they enjoyed the good time. That same journey filled with weed and libations made their journeys much more intense, 420 was born. Over time, the band continued to use this expression, and the term spread like wildfire ...


This term became their group greeting: “Louis 420! ". The "Louis" ended up disappearing, and we have the famous "420" left. It has been popularized since the end of the 1980s by fans of the group Grateful Dead. The Grateful Dead made a serious contribution to the term 420. Indeed, members of the Waldos followed their concert, and little by little, the term spread among the fans. The rest is history of cannabis.

Many Americans continue to smoke together at 20:4 p.m. By extension the date of April 20 (written 1936/4 in the United States) has become a symbolic day of the counter-culture. In some places the holiday coincides with Earth Day… Another explanation would come from one of HP Lovecraft's stories, “In the Walls of Eryx”, published in 20 in Weird Tales Magazine. Lovecraft describes a "mirage plant" whose description corresponds to that of cannabis and its effects, which take place at precisely XNUMX:XNUMX am ...

A third and final explanation would associate this hour with the first LSD taken by its inventor, Albert Hofmann, on April 20, 1943 at 4:20 p.m.

Police jargon

Finally, the 420 is here. And for the cannabis community, it's the best day of the year… In fact, this year 420 is going to be celebrated all weekend. From the free 420 Denver rally to 420 San Fransico in the park, there will be events around the world.

But France will not accept any… Indeed, the French law is one of the most severe in the world, and the cannabis user risks very high… Ironically, according to some, the police would have invented the code of the jargon “420” . And used it to signal when there was marijuana smoking going on… Like, "Roger, we have a 420 at San Rafael High School"… Then the counter culture would have used that code for itself. ...

The history of the Waldos may be twisted. But it is too late, he is already legendary. The 420 had already become an official part of the stoner lexicon. A signal to rally cannabis and smokers around the world. The Waldos, however, had perfected the use of the signal before it became popular. "It was almost telepathic," recalled one of the Waldos in an interview with in 2009. . Today, references to 420 have abounded in the media and popular culture for decades. Clocks in movies and TV shows are always set at 4:20, the most famous being "Pulp Fiction" ...

420 campaign

In addition, the "420 Campaign" inspires people to get involved in the political process and the anti-Cannabis policy reform movement. In particular, academic groups such as NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation), and SSDP (Students for Sensible Drug Policy) started using on April 20 (4 / 20) as a day of education and activism for marijuana policy reform.

Today, 420 enjoys massive popularity. With legalization across the United States, April cannabis festivals are more numerous and popular than ever. In fact, many major events have become so important that they engulf entire communities ...

For the Waldos, 420 was a signal to come together and enjoy cannabis. And it is exactly this spirit that sustains 4/20 more than 40 years later ...

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