What comes to your mind when you hear the number 420? Probably nothing! But you would be surprised if you knew that this number, 420 (four-twenty) is a code; it is the term that is used widely in Cannabis culture as a time to get high, a national day to get high, and cannabis itself.
The history of 420
Over 35 alternative stories, legends and rumors try to explain the origins of 420. The Bob Dylan theory assumes that in Bob Dylan’s song Rainy Day Women #12 & #35 the lyrics contain “everybody must get stoned” and 420 comes from the title (12 x 35 = 420). Other theories are the Highway 420, (in Ontario, Canada of the 60s marijuana grew freely on one of the highways which was later renamed in highway 420), the police code theory or the Bob Marley theory.
The most commonly accepted theory seems to be the San Rafael theory. In the early 70s, a group of teenagers in California, the Waldos, had a plan to find an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. Their meeting place was the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael high school and their meeting time was at 4:20 p.m. The name of the plan was “4:20 Louis”, but due to the multiple failed attempts to find the crop, the name was shortened to “4:20”.
The 420 and the cannabis culture today
I suppose that the Waldos never envisioned that pot smokers all over the world would celebrate each 20th of April or that 4:20 would be the pot smoker's teatime in Holland, as the result of their foray into the forests of California. 420 is a sacred symbol for nearly 30 years. It is a code that enables marijuana smokers to openly speak about marijuana in front of parents or teachers.It is the term used in Cannabis culture as a time to get high or a national day to get high.
The 20th of April is recognized by the estimated 250,000,000 members of the cannabis culture across the planet as an international day of celebration. On 20/04 there are events concerning cannabis all over the world. It is the day of global celebration, a show of appreciation for a truly amazing and versatile plant or the display of solidarity by an oppressed, but resilient culture. In some states of America, groups of people even protest for the legitimation of marijuana use during that day. Also, the time 4:20 is associated with marijuana smoking and it is known as the burn time.
By the way you have to be careful. Don't get obsessed with that number and start yelling "420, 420!" while walking on the street - not everyone can understand you and you don't want to seem stupid or crazy. Do you?