The term 420 has been tossed around by cannabis pioneers—and non-users for that matter—for decades. Whether it’s reaching for your pre-roll at 4:20, or getting together with your buds on April 20th (even if it is on zoom), you’ll find yourself in good company.
And this year, you can finally put some rumors to rest on the origin of 420.Here are a few of our favourite myths:
It’s a police radio code used when U.S. officers would see a cannabis-related crime. Not only was this proven false, but some sources say 420 is the code for something more sinister: homicide. At least for the Las Vegas Police Department.
The term 420 is attributed to the Bob Dylan song Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35. In it, Dylan sings that “Everybody must get stoned.” Additionally, if you multiply 12 by 35, it equals 420. While an interesting theory, it’s incorrect!
Some people believe that 420 marks the date of Bob Marley’s death, and the world comes together on this date to enjoy cannabis and celebrate his life and artistry. However, it’s well documented that the musician died on May 11.
Here’s the most likely theory:
It all started in San Rafael, California, in 1971. As the story goes, five high school athletes used a secret code—”420 Louis”—to signal to each other to meet at a statue of Louis Pasteur after practice. This group of teenagers were called the “Waldos” because they would hang out against a wall.
Word on the street was a man who lived in the area was unable to tend to his cannabis plants anymore, so the five teenagers met to hunt for the free weed. The endeavour took longer than they thought. Eventually, they dropped the Louis and referred to all their cannabis-related exploits under the code word of 420. Teachers never caught on to the term, neither did parents.
Whatever its history, 420 remains a day of recognition for cannabis users across the world. How do you plan on marking the occasion?