Happy 420! Learn more about the history of this celebration and everyday term.
It was Christmas week in Oakland, California 1990. A timeless gathering of hippies that springs up in the parking lot before every Grateful Dead concert. This was a sacred meeting space for cannabis and weed lovers to meet. At this concert, we saw one of the first major times 420 was used for the green goddess. During this pre-concert gathering, a fan was handing out peculiar yellow flyers to other concertgoers.
The Original Flyer
Meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset, read the flyer, this was the first moment in history where we saw the term “420-ing” used in writing.
The flyer even included a 420 back-story: “420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late ’70s. It started as the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress”.
While the police code has never been verified, the San Rafael part is true.
Five Friends from Cali.
A group of five San Rafael High School friends, known as the Waldos, – a name inspired by their chosen hang-out spot, a wall outside the school – were the original users of the term 420. It started off back in 1971 when these five friends made plans to meet at 4:20 pm, outside of school to look for a hidden plot of marijuana plants. While they never found the hidden plot it became a quick codeword for any time they talked about cannabis and it’s the earliest point when we can prove the use of the term “420.” Waldo Steve, Waldo Dave, and Dave’s older brother, Patrick, confirmed their full names and identities on record. They asked to stay anonymous for professional reasons, remember, Cannabis is still illegal in the USA at this time.
How great is it that five high school friends began a tradition that would unite cannabis lovers around the world? As a result, they started a celebration that would join them in their 420 traditions and transform into the April 20th party we know every year.
From after school at 4:20 PM, to a police code for marijuana use, to April 20th on the calendar, this day has managed to become something of an international holiday in the face of historical condemnation. This year’s events will be no different. Celebrations worldwide will unite cannabis lovers to part-take in something that we all love.
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