What is the origin of 420?

All cannabis enthusiasts are familiar with the term 420, which refers to the 20th of April, but where does 420 come from? Read about how this became worldwide a popular term and how this day is now celebrated in the cannabis community. 

The origin of 420

The story of the ‘Waldos’ from San Rafael is the most widely accepted explanation for the origin of 420. In the early 1970s, five high school students in San Rafael, California, who called themselves the Waldos would meet every day at 4:20 pm to smoke weed. The Waldos would gather by a statue of Louis Pasteur (a famous French chemist) on the campus of their high school and use the code word "420 Louis" to remind each other of their daily appointment. Over time, their phrase was shortened to simply "420" and became connected to smoking cannabis.

Several pieces of evidence seem to prove the Waldos story: they had a painted flag with the number 420 and a cannabis lead, the yearbooks from the San Rafael High School had references of the Waldos referring to their 4:20 ritual and the Waldos have been consistent in telling in interviews they were the ones that came up with the term.

While the Waldos story is the most widely accepted explanation for the origin of 420, there are several other theories. Some suggest that the term was created earlier, possibly dating back to the sixties or even the fifties.

One of the alternative theory suggests that the term 420 originated from the police code for cannabis possession in California. There is no evidence however to support this theory.

Another pretty common theory suggests that the term 420 comes from the number of days in the growing cycle of cannabis, but this is not widely supported.

The lack of real evidence for these theories make some people believe that the true origin of 420 is still a mystery. Most others believe that the Waldos story is the most likely explanation.

The spread of 420 as the cannabis culture code

Believing that the story comes from the Waldos, the term 420 became much wider popular outside of the San Rafael High School. The former rock and country band ‘Grateful Dead’ was associated with the Waldos and picked up the term 420 and played a big role in spreading it.

The magazine High Times, originated in 1971, picked up the term in the 1990s. High Times began to regularly use the term 420 in their articles and advertisements. The magazine also organized events on April 20th to celebrate the day. This helped to spread the term to the niche culture and into mainstream culture.

High Times' role in spreading 420 was significant for multiple reasons. First, the magazine had a large and influential group of readers, which helped to expose a wider audience to the term. Second, the magazine's used the term consistently, which helped to establish the relationship with cannabis culture.

As a result of the efforts of the High Times magazine, 420 became a mainstream cultural phenomenon since the early 2000s. The term 420 is now recognized as a symbol of cannabis culture. And April 20th is celebrated as a cannabis holiday around the world.

The 20th of April celebrations

These days 4:20 is seen as a socially accepted time to start smoking weed and the 20th of April is like Christmas day for cannabis enthusiasts.

Even though you hear the term all year round, once April starts social media light up with memes and related photos about the essence of 420. Especially in countries or regions were cannabis is legalized, 420 is celebrated as a day of freedom, often with cannabis events, live music and of course plenty of nice foods to satisfy your munchies 😉

420 is a moment to celebrate the culture, history, and community that comes with cannabis. It's a day to chill, laugh, and maybe appreciate the joy of some quality hash or weed.

One of the best places in the world to celebrate this event is Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is known across cannabis enthusiasts around the world and is extra popular on the 20th day of April.
On 420 in Amsterdam, you can expect a charming scene with locals and tourists enjoying all sorts of weed products. The city's famous canalside parks, like Vondelpark, turn into gathering spots for people sharing joints and enjoying the atmosphere.

What sets Amsterdam apart on 420 is the sense of acceptance and freedom. It's a day where the city's cannabis culture is not just embraced but celebrated openly. The diverse and inclusive vibe makes 420 in Amsterdam an amazing experience for anyone looking to enjoy the cannabis scene in a unique and welcoming setting.

If you’re around Amsterdam, whether on 420 or another day, you are very much welcome at Coffeeshop Relax. We are daily opened and known for our quality tested weed and hash. Relax in our homely and casual atmosphere In the nicest neighborhood of Amsterdam; de Jordaan. Our goal is to give our clients a better cannabis experience than ever before.

Written by Open Your Mind: open-your-mind.com