In today’s world, 420 is a widely known term that everyone can relate to, but no one really knows why. This 420, come prepared with all the information you never knew you wanted to know about why we celebrate on 420 and where the tradition first began.
Everyone loves a good treasure hunter story, whether you’re in bed and your parents are reading you a bedtime story or you’re sitting around a campfire and smoking in the woods. In 1971, a group of five California students found a treasure map that showed the location of an abandoned cannabis crop. The map was created by the crop’s grower and that grower is no longer around. The group, who called themselves the Waldos, would meet on school grounds every day at 4:20 PM in order to work on their search for the mysterious crop. They referred to their meetings and their plan to locate the field as 4:20 Louis, referencing their meet-up spot next to a Louis Pasteur statue.
While the group never actually located the abandoned field, they continued meeting every day to hang out and enjoy their own stash, eventually shortening their meeting code word to simply “4:20”. The first mention of the Waldos appeared in High Times magazine in May of 1991 where writer, Steven Hager, told the group’s story and mentioned their 4:20 meeting code. Steven thought the code may be due to a police code for marijuana, which was ultimately disproven. Many other rumors and incorrect origins were created for the term, but it wasn’t until December of 1998 that the truth became more widely known.
Over the years, April 20th has become the official day to celebrate 420 around the world, not just in the US. Many cannabis-based events, such as legalization rallies and protests, take place on April 20th, and marijuana users who advocate for legalization often gather in public places to smoke or consume cannabis at 4:20 PM. These protests, activist movements, observances, and events take place all over the world reaching places like London, New Zealand, and Slovenia, among many others.
In places where marijuana is becoming legal and states or countries are allowing recreational use, 420 is still celebrated, though not as a day for calls-to-action. In these places, 420 is celebrated as a day to embrace the acceptance and the win for marijuana users everywhere, and as a celebration of the victories achieved so far. There is still a long way to go before marijuana is legalized for recreational use on a global level, but we will take every 420 win that we can get and will fight to achieve more until the world accepts this.