4/20 is an unofficial Cannabis holiday on April 20th each year, following the American date and time notation form where the month is first, followed by the day. Although the origins have been a hot topic of discussion for many years, in many ways, you can draw similarities from these discussions to conversations on the future of Cannabis in contemporary times, where, despite rampant developments, a universal consensus is far from a reality. Regardless, we'll walk you through the most credible narrative of how the phrase and unofficial holiday may have come, so buckle in, roll one up and get comfortable as we try to take you through history!
History of 420
The story of 420's origins stems from high-school students who would meet up in the 1970s whilst in their teenage years after school at that specific time every week and smoke a bunch of California Cannabis. Often they would go off into the hills outside local jurisdiction looking out for a cannabis plant that local folklore amongst the youth was obsessing over as supposedly somewhere in a forest lay a cannabis farm that a U.S. Coast Guard member had stopped tending to.
The students were reportedly all athletes who practised sports and whose responsibilities meant they could only hang out and consume cannabis after 4:20. However, the group would spend so much time chilling on the wall outside their high school in San Rafael, California, whilst partaking in their after-practice activities or waiting for the group to assemble that people began to refer to them as the 'Waldos'.The Waldos were always sure to meet up at least once a week by the iconic Louis Pasteur statue outside their school; after smoking, they would regularly explore the local Point Reyes forest using a treasure map purportedly made by the plant owner before leaving his gardening duties.
In 2017, one of the original Waldos crew members told the Huffington Post that they would initially remind themselves about meeting up at 4:20 by saying 4/20 Louis to each other by the lockers between classes. However, at some point, the phrase was shortened to just 4:20, as it was shorter, more catchy, and more discreet. Then, they would drive out to Pt. Reyes would smoke the entire journey, week after week, but they never actually stumbled across the plant.
Despite failing to uncover the possibly mythical garden, they created new slang and forever introduced a new lexicon to cannabis smokers worldwide. For example, during the conversation with the Huffington Post, one of the Waldos said they could turn to one of their friends and utter the word 420, and many meanings were possible depending on how they spoke.
The meanings could range from: Do you want to smoke, have you any bud on you, or have you just smoked? The phrase quickly spread across groups as parents and teachers weren't aware of what they were discussing. The term likely spread even further thanks to the Legendary psychedelic Rock N Roll band The Grateful Dead, based in the Marin County hills region in the seventies just a few blocks from that infamous high school where the Waldos would hang out outside. One of Waldo's parents happened to be a real estate manager for the Grateful Dead, whilst another Waldos member managed a Grateful Dead sideband, and the group of smokers would regularly go and listen to them playing music and get stoned alongside them whilst they practised for gigs.
The backstage influence alongside the Grateful Dead shows purportedly led to the phrase spreading like wildfire, as they'd keep saying the term 420 concerning people lighting, smoking or passing a joint, which led to the proliferation of the term amongst those visiting the shows. The first time the former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf, Steve Bloom recalls hearing the phrase '420' was over the week of Christmas in 1990 when he was on the street at a Grateful Dead concert in Oakland, California.
Bloom was transversing through the different groups of hippies converging before the infamous Dead shows when he saw a flyer that noted, 'We are all meeting at 4:20 pm on 4/20 for a 420 sesh in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais. After keeping the flyer, he eventually sent it to the Huffington Post in the mid ninties. Before long, 'High Times' discovered the story and helped launch the story of 420 internationally.
Despite being an unofficial holiday, it is a universal day to celebrate amongst smokers, and one can see these ramifications across the globe. Officials at the University of Colorado at Boulder & of California, based in Santa Cruz, have tried to plead students not to participate. Similarly, in the U.K., at Hyde Park, there is a routine police presence as well as 'Cannabis Amnasty bins' & signs to remind the Public that Cannabis is an illicit recreational drug.
Despite the illicit state of the majority of Cannabis in the U.K., there is an increasing legal, legitimate side to the extent that British medical cannabis clinic Releaf got a Snoop Dogg impersonator to patrol the event whilst smoking, a move that confused cannabis fans with some mistaking him for the rapper hailing from California.Releaf's publicity stunt coincides with the launch of the first U.K. medical cannabis card by a U.K. clinic that's able to provide essential patient information to the police in the event they encounter inquisitive police whilst in possession of their medicine.
Meanwhile, whilst all this was happening, police detained several cannabis enthusiasts & many more were advised to dispose of their Cannabis in the Cannabis amnesty boxes. It goes to show that the UK have some way to catch up with so much of the world, so with that said if you're a fan of 4/20 and like to try to avoid attention in public or private, one of our handy D-ODR Odor Neutralizer's or our Sealz portable vaccum-sealer's might come in handy for you!