History of 420
420 is coming up, and you probably have some plans in place, maybe even a funny 420 shirt or poster for the occasion. But where did 420 come from, and what does it mean? Here’s the 411 on 420.
According to the Huffington Post , it all started when a stoner at a Grateful Dead concert gave a flier to Stephen Bloom, who was a reporter for High Times.
“We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais,” the flier read. “420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late ‘70s. It started as the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. After local heads heard of the police call, they started using the expression ‘420’ when referring to herb. Let’s Go 420, dude!”
Bloom than reported his findings about the holiday in High Times, a widely-read cannabis magazine, and the rest is history.
However, according to the rest of the Huff Post story, and also History.com , the flier was wrong. It is definitely a San Francisco tradition, but has nothing to do with a police code. Instead it’s the time when a group of teens called the Waldos used to meet after high school to smoke.
The moral of this story? There is lots of debate about the origins of the term, and it turns out there is not a lot of deep meaning behind it. But, the whole thing probably started with a group of folks just looking to smoke up and have a good time, and that’s also how it ends.