420 is something of a holiday for marijuana consumers. The number has expanded to encompass all things that those in the marijuana community hold dear. And it also all started as being an inside joke among a group of Northern California senior high school students during the early 1970s.
April 20, or 4/20, is actually a significant day for that marijuana-consuming community.
4:20 p.m. is recognized as an optimal time to illuminate for smokers, and spaces where one can smoke marijuana are often labelled 420 Friendly Hotels. The word was even added to the Oxford English Dictionary, used to make reference to the “act of smoking marijuana.” Suffice to express, the quantity 420 holds a unique place in marijuana smokers’ hearts. But where did all of this result from? How did 420 become a global phenomenon?
The story begins in California in the early 1970s when a group of secondary school students – called “The Waldos” for any wall they could all hang out on after school – received some excellent news. 2 of “The Waldos,” Steve Capper and Dave Reddix, stopped by “The Criminals” podcast earlier this month to share with the history of how an inside joke among a couple of San Rafael secondary school students went worldwide.
“I was sittin’ on our hangout spot – the wall – at San Rafael High School,” Capper told host Phoebe Judge. Capper says a friend told him that his brother, a Coast Guard officer, was growing marijuana. The friend claimed that his brother was fearful of getting caught by his commanding officer, so he abandoned the stash inside the forest through the Point Reyes Coast Guard Station. Capper’s friend drew him a map, which he delivered to the remainder of the Waldos. “We were teenage boys, and this was free weed,” Reddix remembers. “Are you kidding?”
Reddix says the boys chose to meet by a statue of Louis Pasteur on the high school campus at 4:20 p.m. to start trying to find the marijuana.
In 2018, you are able to celebrate 420 legally. “We fired up a doobie, got high, and we hopped in Steve’s ’66 Impala, and that we smoked all the way out there,” Reddix said. “It looked just like a scene coming from a Cheech and Chong movie, we’d get the whole car clouded up,” Capper said. “We were talking and grooving.”
The Waldos would meet up at 4:20 p.m. every day to go on the search, though they admit – more than four decades later – which they never found the mythical stash. The Four:20 p.m. meet-up time stuck, however, and have become the group’s slang term for smoking marijuana. “We’d remind the other person inside the hallways that people were planning to meet at Louis at 4:20,” Capper said. And “420 Louis” quickly became just “420.”
“It was sort of a knowing smile, when we’d claim that to one another,” Reddix said. His or her number of friends got larger, more and more people in their social circle adopted the phrase for his or her own marijuana-smoking activities. Years mqjtnj, they’d see “420” carved into park benches and spray-painted on bridges, Capper said.
Nevertheless it wasn’t until Reddix’s brother introduced the phrase to his friend Phil Lesh, who happened to be the bass player of the Grateful Dead, that the term really took off. “What started out being a little private code, secret joke, turned into an international phenomenon,” Reddix said.
Lesh confirmed just as much to The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim in 2009. Lesh said he was friends with Dave Reddix’s brother Patrick, and said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if “The Waldos” created the term. Capper and Reddix say they have actual physical proof that “The Waldos” coined the phrase.
“We maintain the evidence locked in a vault in San Francisco,” Capper said. “This is historical stuff.” The evidence, in accordance with “The Criminals” host Phoebe Judge, is actually a clipping coming from a San Rafael Senior High School newspaper from 1974. Among “The Waldos,” when asked an issue about his best advice for your graduating class, simply responded “420.” And today, in 2018, it’s not only a holiday for smokers, but a massive marketing chance of legal marijuana brands like MedMen and Eaze.