What does 420 mean?

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what is 420

Why is 420 associated with weed?

The number 420 has become associated with marijuana counterculture and consumption of cannabis. Here are a few theories about how this numerical term originated:

  1. The Waldos Theory: A group of high school students in the 1970s in San Rafael, California, called themselves “The Waldos.” They would meet at 4:20 pm after classes to smoke marijuana. The term 420 became their code for cannabis consumption.
  2. Police Code Theory: Some believe 420 was a police code that officers used to refer to marijuana smoking or consumption in progress. However, most police forces deny having any “420” code specifically for pot.
  3. Bob Dylan Theory: There is a rumor that 420 refers to the lyrics “Everybody must get stoned” in Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” where 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420.
  4. Hitler’s Birthday Theory: April 20th was Adolf Hitler’s birthday, and some theorize anti-establishment cannabis users appropriated 4/20 to insult the former dictator.

While the exact origins are unclear, over the decades 420 became an international counterculture code popularized and cemented by cannabis activism groups. April 20th (4/20) is celebrated as an annual cannabis culture holiday.

what is 420

How has legalization changed 420 culture?

Cannabis culture has changed, there is no doubt about that. What was illegal and shunned just twenty years ago is gathering attention as a potential new industry in the most conservative states and even the most conservative countries on the planet. Twenty years ago, cannabis was just barely entering public conversation as medicine.

Today, medical cannabis is legal in over half of US states and over half of the entire population of the country has access to legal recreational cannabis. What a revolution! This change has been pushed for by activists for decades and we have them to thank for the lifestyle we now enjoy (that’s the power of the people!).

While that is true, cannabis and 420 are becoming much more commercialized, not just in sales, but in our mainstream culture. Articles about 420 have popped up everywhere from the New York Times to Newsweek—the culture and cannabis are everywhere today and even those tough-on-crime shock jocks that want tougher penalties on drug users are suddenly amenable to cannabis—hypocrisies aside, I wonder what changed their minds?

Regardless, cannabis has become so mainstream that even major corporations like cigarette companies and even Monsanto are researching how to grow their own strains. (All the more reason to grow at home, in my opinion!) Now, 4/20 is closing in as an informal national holiday—maybe one day it will even rival Halloween.

What events have been held on 420?

April 20 has become an international day of celebration and protest. Every year people gather in their cities and take to a public square to smoke publicly: Washington Square Park in New York City, Hippie Hill in San Francisco, Boston Common in Boston, Civic Center Park in Denver, UC Berkeley campus in Berkeley, Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto, and even outside the Mexican Senate House in Mexico City all have large public gatherings on 420. Throughout the world, from North America to Australia to Europe, 420 has become an important day to push for legalization and drug policy reform.

How should we celebrate?

You know what to do! Happy 420—enjoy your life!

Activity Details
Smoke Sessions Many cannabis users will gather with friends to smoke marijuana together, especially around 4:20pm when the calendar lines up with the numeric code.
Rallies and Festivals Activists and supporters of marijuana legalization often organize public rallies, marches, concerts and festivals on April 20th to celebrate and advocate for cannabis culture.
Deals and Specials Some cannabis dispensaries and companies offer special 420 discounts, sales and promotional merchandise on April 20th.
Outdoor Smoke Outs People congregate in public parks or outdoor areas designated for public consumption in places where marijuana is legal to smoke openly together.
Cannabis Cuisine Restaurants, bakeries and chefs create special cannabis-infused menus, food items and marijuana-themed dishes for 420 celebrations.
Movie Marathons Stoner films and cult classics are popular viewing choices, especially for small gatherings and house parties centered around 420 celebrations.
Camping and Hiking Hitting the outdoors to enjoy nature while consuming cannabis is a tradition for some on April 20th.

 

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