4:20, a legendary number in the cannabis community that has been bringing stoners together since the early 70’s. We’ve all come to know 4:20, but how did this happy high holiday get started?
Let’s take a trip together to 1971 San Rafael, California, where 5 teenagers coined the term 4:20 in the pursuit of finding an abandoned cannabis crop based on a treasure map made by the crop owner. This sounds like the start of a Seth Rogen and Jonah Hill movie doesn’t it? That would be a great movie, but so far this is just cannabis history!
The group called themselves the “Waldos”, creatively coined due to their meeting place being “The Wall Outside the School”.
They would meet up after school and sports practices (legend has it these young cannabis enthusiasts were also student athletes) either at “The Wall” or at a statue of Louis Pasteur on the school’s property to indulge in a little puff puff pass and discuss their plans for finding the legendary Crop they were seeking out.
Originally, they would communicate in code in the school’s halls to remind each other to meet up later that day, whispering “4:20 Louis” to each other. Eventually they dropped the Louis and kept the iconic 4:20, creating a way for cannabis enthusiasts to communicate in secret without parents or teachers catching on.
So how did it garner popularity and make its way around the globe? Some of the members of The Waldos had ties to The Grateful Dead, which lead to the early spread of the phrase being popularized at their music concerts and festivals.
As for the story of The Waldo’s? It was popularized thanks to High Time’s magazine writer, counterculture and cannabis rights enthusiast Steven Hager who first published the story in May 1991.
Since then, 4/20 has been a major component in counterculture and cannabis culture alike.
Steve DeAngelo, cannabis activist and founder of California’s Harborside Health Center said this about the cannabis holiday:
“Even if our activist work were complete, 420 morphs from a statement of conscience to a celebration of acceptance, a celebration of victory, a celebration of our amazing connection with this plant” and that he thinks that “it will always be worthy of celebration”.
Although the group’s search for the elusive mystery crop was futile and they never found what they were looking for, I argue that the Waldo’s found something even stronger and better: Lifetime Cannabis Companions and the creation of the most notorious, amazing, mouth-watering term & holiday we all know, love, and use today: 4:20!
-Chloe Walford, Mood Cannabis Co