If you happened to have checked out the calender today, you noticed that the date is 4-20.
For many of us it’s just a date, April 20, but for a lot of other people, it is National Weed Day.
Of course, even if you don’t smoke marijuana, you’ve heard of 420. It’s been in pop culture, for example all of the clocks in Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20. It even made it into politics when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law voters had approved was named SB420 in 2003.
But, where did the term originate from?
Despite rumors and myths regarding it’s origins, such as the number of active chemicals in marijuana, being the teatime in Holland, those numbers in a Bob Dylan song multiplied, or even just a simple police code for marijuana, it’s actual a simple tale.
A group of teenagers calling themselves the Waldos came upon an abandoned pot field in San Rafael, CA. The high school students agreed to meet up after school, 4:20 to be exact, to go grab some free bud. The group eventually started using 420 as a code word for getting high, and nobody had a clue.
Shortly after the demise of the utopian San Francisco scene, The Grateful Dead relocated to Marion County, not too far from San Rafael.
As the Huffington Post describes the Waldos had open and easy access to the Dead, since:
The Waldos had more than just a geographic connection to the Dead. Mark Waldo’s father took care of real estate for the Dead. And Waldo Dave’s older brother, Patrick, managed a Dead sideband and was good friends with bassist Phil Lesh. Patrick tells the Huffington Post that he smoked with Lesh on numerous occasions. He couldn’t recall if he used the term 420 around him, but guessed that he must have.
The Dead, recalls Waldo Dave Reddix, “had this rehearsal hall on Front Street, San Rafael, California, and they used to practice there. So we used to go hang out and listen to them play music and get high while they’re practicing for gigs. But I think it’s possible my brother Patrick might have spread it through Phil Lesh. And me, too, because I was hanging out with Lesh and his band [as a roadie] when they were doing a summer tour my brother was managing.”
Throughput the 70s and 80s, as the Dead toured the world, the term quickly became a part a part of the Dead Underground. Then, in December of 1990, Steven Bloom (from High Times) was in Oakland and wondered into The Lot, apparently a gathering of hippies who hang out before a Dead show. While there, he received a flyer, which read “We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais”.
While the flyer also included only a partial story on the origins of 420, High Times embraced the term and spread the word, beginning with their first story in May of 1991.
So, there you go, the origins of how April 20 became “Weed Day”.
Enjoy, and peace.
Grateful Dead – Sugar Magnolia
Afroman – Because I Got High
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