The term 420 and cannabis culture are closely linked and that’s the reason weed day is celebrated on April 20th (4/ 12) all over the world. Most people have different myths going about what “420” has to do with cannabis culture.
It seems that what was once echoed loud in underground hip culture has gradually made its way to the mainstream. Thousands of people gather in different cities of the world on April 20th each year, to exhibit their solidarity with marijuana cause.
Ironically, most people who gather are also not aware of the origin of the term 420 or why are they gathering on this day.
There are various stories about the relation between 420 and cannabis, but very few of them have substantial evidence to back them.
One popular myth is that 420 was the penal code used by Californian police to convict for marijuana use. The myth buster for this one is that, 420 is the penal code for obstructing entry to public land’.
In-fact, 420 is not a penal code for a marijuana use in any US state.
Another popular myth in cannabis culture is that 420 was the police code of Newyork police for marijuana use in progress. Leaving marijuana use aside, 420 was not a code for any illegal activity.
Similarly, another myth states that 420 is actually the number of chemicals found in marijuana. Some basic research suggests that there is little truth in this claim and is basically just a hoax.
Another tradition suggests that it had to something with the band Grateful Dead. Some say that when the band toured they always stayed in room 420.
It is also nothing more than a myth as the band’s spokesperson out-rightly rejects it. This tradition is true to the extent that the term 420 has something to do with the band.
The traces of the term have to be chased back to San Rafael High School, Northern California.
In 1971, there was a group of students that went by the name of Waldos. The group, consisting of five school going teenagers, gathered by the school wall at 4:20 pm each day to go for a supposed marijuana hunt.
They were in a possession of a hand drawn map, suggesting the location of marijuana plants in the nearby area. Waldos told that though they never found the plants, hunting venture was in itself a whole lot of fun.
They smoked a lot of weed on their way and even after their failed hunt; term 420 became their code term for referring to marijuana.
Waldos had acquaintances with members of Grateful Dead band. They used to hang out and smoke with them during tours and jams, and referred to weed as “420”.
It was during this time that the term, unconsciously coined, started to gain momentum in the underground scene.
420 was still a subculture thing. It was not until the magazine High Times started including the term 420 in their editions that gradually made it international.
High Times played a significant role in taking this underground thing to smokers all around the world and they started recognizing it as something that had to do with cannabis.
It is amazing that a term that was coined out of utter randomness by some school guys is not only understood in every part of the world, but has become more of a phenomenon in cannabis culture.