The History of 4/20

Ah, 4/20, the holiday that every stoner looks forward to. On this day, people from all around the world celebrate their love for cannabis. But how did this date become so significant? What’s the story behind 4/20, and how did it become the unofficial holiday for cannabis enthusiasts?

The origins of 4/20 can be traced back to a group of high school students from San Rafael, California, in the early 1970s. These students, who called themselves “the Waldos,” would meet up after school at 4:20 pm to smoke weed. They would often go on adventures in search of hidden cannabis fields in the nearby Point Reyes National Seashore.

The term “420” was originally just a code word that the Waldos used to refer to smoking cannabis. It’s said that the term was chosen because it was the time that the group would meet up to smoke, but some sources say that it was actually a reference to a treasure hunt that the Waldos had heard about, which involved a map that led to a secret stash of cannabis plants. Supposedly, the map was created by a Coast Guard service member who had to abandon his cannabis field near the Point Reyes seashore.

Regardless of the true origins of the term, “420” quickly became a part of the stoner lexicon. The Waldos would use the term around their friends and in the halls of their school, and it eventually spread to the broader cannabis community. In the decades since, 4/20 has become a widely recognized shorthand for cannabis culture.

But how did 4/20 go from a private code word to a global phenomenon? In the 1990s, the Grateful Dead played a significant role in popularizing the term. The band’s fans, known as Deadheads, were known for their love of cannabis, and they started using “420” as a way to signal to each other that they had some weed to share. Deadheads would often pass around flyers with “420” written on them, which helped to spread the term beyond the San Rafael area.

The internet also played a significant role in spreading the popularity of 4/20. In the early days of the web, stoners used chat rooms and message boards to connect with each other and share their love of cannabis. As more and more people began using the internet, 4/20 became an increasingly recognized part of cannabis culture.

Today, 4/20 is celebrated all around the world. On this day, people gather together to smoke weed, attend cannabis festivals, and participate in other activities that celebrate the culture and love of cannabis. Some cities even hold 4/20 parades and rallies, where participants can openly smoke in public without fear of arrest.

Despite the growing acceptance of cannabis in many parts of the world, there are still those who view 4/20 as a negative influence. Some argue that the holiday promotes drug use and sends a dangerous message to young people. Others believe that the holiday is an important part of cannabis culture and should be celebrated.

Regardless of your views on 4/20, there’s no denying that the holiday has become a significant part of American culture. Whether you’re a casual smoker or a dedicated cannabis enthusiast, 4/20 is a day to celebrate all things weed-related. So roll up a joint, take a hit, and enjoy the holiday with your fellow stoners! 

Thanks for reading, 


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