Article by Rashika Srivastava, Cannabis Life Network
The pandemic might have taken some fun off April 20, aka the Stoner’s Christmas, this year. But, we do have a story behind the 4/20 celebrations — one, that we can talk about while smoking some pot within our bubbles. After all, just like any other festival, the history of 4/20 needs to be kept alive.
The phrase, ‘420 friendly’ in a rental ad description might bring a smile to a pot user looking for a home. This well-known and frequently used codeword within the cannabis community was used for the first time in 1971. ‘420’ meant marijuana — an illegal drug back then. It remains illegal in most places today as well.
Around five decades ago, four high school students invented the term ‘420’ in San Rafael, a city 18 miles from San Francisco in Marin County, California State. No wonder, the medical marijuana bill of 2003 was named SB420 by the California Senate. Even though the term has no logical connection to cannabis, it has one with the smoking time.
A group of young high school boys, also known as the Waldos —apparently, their hangout spot was a wall outside school — planned to meet up at 4:20 PM outside school, in front of the statue of Louis Pasteur. According to Huffington Post, their meeting code was ‘420-Louis’. They were to travel in search of marijuana plants grown by a Coast Guard service member who could no longer tend his plot near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station. They used to smoke some pot and start their search every day at 4:20 PM with the help of a treasure map. Unfortunately, they found no success even after many days. Eventually, ‘Louis’ was dropped off the code. ‘420’ became a hit and stayed forever among pot users.
The Waldos then started using the term 420 for ‘Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?’ Or, ‘Do you have any?’ Or, ‘Are you stoned right now?’. This is what Steve Waldos, an original Waldos member told Huffington Post. It was telepathic enough to understand ‘anything weed’ with different gestures and intonations and no one else could guess.