The History of 420

The History of 420: How it Became a Cannabis Holiday

Cannabis culture is rich with history and traditions, and one of the most prominent of those is the holiday known as 420. This unofficial celebration takes place on April 20th each year and has become a global phenomenon in the cannabis community. 

But where did 420 come from, and how did it become such a significant part of cannabis culture? 

In this article, we’ll explore the origins of 420 and how it evolved into the holiday we know today.

The Origins of 420:

The story of 420 begins in the early 1970s in San Rafael, California, with a group of high school students known as the Waldos. These young people used to meet outside their school at 4:20 p.m. and go on adventures to search for a cannabis plant they’d heard was abandoned and free to take. The term “420” became their secret code to talk about smoking marijuana without anyone knowing, and it stuck.

The Spread of 420:

The Waldos had connections to the Grateful Dead, and their phrase began spreading through the Deadhead community. It eventually caught the attention of High Times magazine, which helped to popularize it and spread the word worldwide. Today, April 20th is known as a cannabis holiday, with celebrations and gatherings taking place around the world.


Cultural Significance of 420:

The number 420 has become ubiquitous in popular culture, showing up in movies like Pulp Fiction and even on game shows like The Price is Right. It’s also been used as a nod to cannabis culture in various ways, such as in the California medical marijuana law SB 420.

Legends Around the Origins of 420:

The history of 420 has been the subject of much speculation and legend over the years. Some of the more popular theories surrounding its origins have even made their way onto the internet. Let’s take a look at some of these legends and see what they have to say about the origins of 420.

One popular internet legend suggests that 420 was the police code for marijuana use. According to this theory, police officers would use the code 420 to report marijuana use or possession. While police codes do vary from one department to another, there’s no evidence to suggest that 420 was ever a code for marijuana use.

Another theory is that 420 refers to the number of chemical compounds in cannabis. While it’s true that cannabis contains many different compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, the number 420 has nothing to do with this.

However, history supports the Waldos as the true originators of the term.

Celebrating 420:

While the origins of 420 may be rooted in the past, the holiday itself is very much alive today. Cannabis enthusiasts around the world gather on April 20th to celebrate and enjoy their favorite plant. In some places, these celebrations are formal events with live music and vendors selling cannabis-related products. In others, they’re more laid-back gatherings with friends and family.

At Cannamax, we appreciate the rich history and culture of cannabis, and we strive to bring the best quality products to our customers. Whether you’re a seasoned cannabis enthusiast or just starting to explore the world of cannabis, we invite you to join us in celebrating 420 and all that it represents. Stop by our dispensary in Augusta, Maine, and experience the difference of Cannamax.