April 20th is widely recognized as an unofficial weed day, encouraging people to celebrate at different marijuana events across the United States. While there are dozens of rumors circulating the Internet on the history of 420, most of them have no actual backing. For example, one of the most commonly spread rumors is that 420 is the code used by police in California when making a bust. Here is the unique history behind the number 420 and why the date is so important to marijuana enthusiasts.
One of the most popular origins of 420 comes from a small group of students in California. The students called themselves the Waldos, as they would relax outside of a wall at the school. In 1971, the group learned about an abandoned cannabis crop from a retired grower. Every day, the group would meet at 4:20 p.m., which quickly became the codeword for their regular treasure hunts. While the group has submitted evidence that they were among the first to use the term, there are many others responsible for popularizing it.
420 in Pop Culture
While the Waldos could have been one of the first groups to use the number 420, it has been referenced countless times on television and in songs. The Waldos, for example, had close ties to the Grateful Dead, which helped to popularize the term outside of California. Others quickly adapted the term 420, including it in their work. This reinforced the number over the years, making it associated with smoking marijuana in general. Compilations of every reference to 420 in pop culture can be found online.
Modern 420 Celebrations
Naturally April 20th, or 4/20, has become a day of celebration for many people who enjoy lighting up. It’s not just a few people celebrating on their own, large marijuana events happen every year on this day. In cities where recreational marijuana has been legalized, people can find dozens of ways to celebrate. For example, the city of Denver has 420 Eve on the Rocks, the Official 420 Rally, 420 on the Block and many more. Those looking for something more relaxed than a concert or rally can try a cannabis tour.
The Future of 420
While April 20th has a very rich history, this day will live on as much more than a popular marijuana event. The number 420 has already been attached to legalization bills in many states, making the number closely associated with politics.
As marijuana becomes legalized in more states, enthusiasts can expect to see more events pop up on this unofficial holiday. Only time will tell just how much 420 will evolve.