The Curious Case of 420: Where did it come from?
The term 420 is now widely associated with marijuana use, but its origins are still something of a mystery. While there are many theories about how it came to be associated with cannabis, the most likely story is that it started with a group of California teenagers in the 1970s.
The teens would meet up at a spot outside their school in San Rafael, and they began using the code “420” to refer to their smoking sessions. The term caught on among other cannabis users, and it eventually spread throughout the United States and beyond.
So where did 420 come from?
Let’s take a look at the history of this curious term.
In the fall of 1971, a group of high school students in San Rafael, California, who called themselves the Waldos, began using the term 420 to refer to their smoking sessions. The Waldos were given a treasure map by a Coast Guard member who had planted a cannabis plant and could no longer tend to it. The group would meet up at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana and try to find the plants.
The 420 code soon spread beyond the Waldos’ circle of friends. In 1973, High Times magazine published an article about 420 that helped popularize the term among cannabis users. And in 1990, a group of Californians launched an annual 420 festival in Oakland to celebrate cannabis culture.
Today, 420 is celebrated around the world on April 20th (4/20). And while its original meaning may be lost to time, 420 has become a symbol of cannabis culture and a rallying cry for marijuana legalization.
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