You don’t have to be a stoner to know that 420 (four-twenty) is an intergalactic code for weed, weed smoking, time to smoke weed, weed day, and probably, in 420 BC and 420 AD, also weed year…too bad we missed that one. But with world-legalization not far away (a little optimism won’ t harm), soon April 20th will be an international public holiday for the celebration of our favourite plant, when for one day the world will just chill, eat muffins, listen to dub, blaze some blunts, vape some vapes, and develop the best ideas to solve the problems of the planet (too bad they will probably be forgotten by April 21st).
Anyways, in preparation for the future, it is best to have our roots and culture well understood. So we tried to uncover the myths and truth behind the origins of this day. The stories behind the origin of this magic number are just as imaginative, improbable and funny as most stoners. Let’ s go through the list:
- 420 is a police code in California for “kids smoking weed” : MYTH
In no part of the United States is 420 a police code for anything related to marijuana. In Las Vegas it’s the code for murder.
- 420 is from a Bob Dylan song: TRUEish
Although it’s quite unlikely that the special origin of the number comes entirely from Dylan, many stoners reference to the song “Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35”. In this song Dylan repeats “everyone must get stoned”. 12 times 35 is 420. Cosmic Coincidence?
- 420 is the amount of chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant: FALSE
There are 315 chemical compounds in weed, and no, 31 times 5 is not 420… or wait… no it’s not, my smartphone says so.
- 420 is a reference to the Douglas Adams book Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: TRUE(ish)
The super intelligent computer of the book, Deep Thought, calculates the “The Answer to the Great Question... Of Life, the Universe and Everything... “ To which the simple reply “ ‘Is... Forty-two,' said Deep Thought, with infinite majesty and calm”.
- 420 is smoking time in The Netherlands, in all coffee shops all over the country people smoke (or vape) weed at this hour: FALSE(ish)
4:20, or 16:20 is not an official time for blazing, but since this hour has become the unofficial stoner time around the world, also coffee shops in The Netherlands usually have more clients coming to celebrate this moment.
- 4:20 is the code that a group of stoners in high school during the 70’s would use to give each other after-school appointments to smoke weed together: TRUE
This is the most widely accepted version of the origin of the number: In San Rafael High school in California, during 1971, a group of stoners, who called themselves the Waldos (kids hanging on the wall), would use this number to secretly give each other an appointment for 4:20 in the afternoon to meet by the Louis Pasteur statue near their school (see picture.) Legend has it that they would also go search for a secret patch of plants that one of the teenager’s older brother had planted in the near-by forest. The plants were supposedly never found, but years later some of the members of the Waldos did produce original letters that they had passed to each other in school to claim their immortal status in weed history. In a further twist to the story, San Rafael is also the home town of one of the greatest psychedelic rock bands of all time, the Grateful Dead. After they heard the story of these teenagers, they spread the word all over the United States, during their tours. And as they say…the rest is history…
So, there you have it, the myths, the legends and the smoky truth about this epic date. Do you have your own, local legends of this story? Please share in the comments below.
And don’t forget, on April 20th, here at Azarius we don’t back down from this celebration, offering 20% discount on all Headshop products. (Use the code 420ALLTHEWAY in your cart).
Keep Blazin’, Vapin’ and Dreamin’…