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The History Of 4/20

Photo Credit: Stephen Arnold on Unsplash

The History of 4/20

There are many theories online that tell the origin story of the famous national weed day, 4/20. Many debate that the origin of 4/20 comes from the active chemicals found in marijuana. Others said it has to do with Adolf Hitler's birthday, yes Adolf, and many more. According to History, it’s based on teatime in Holland. Some reference the birthday of Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889), and others Bob Dylan’s legendary ‘Everybody must get stoned’ refrain from his hit “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35” (12 multiplied by 35 does equal 420).

It all dates back to a group of friends from San Rafael School in the 1970's. This group of friends were told that a Coast Guard member planted cannabis and could no longer tend to the crops. So, the students, who called themselves “The Waldos”, because they hung-out on the wall of their school after hours, went on a scavenger hunt to look for the crops. The plan was to meet up at 4:20 pm after practice at the Louis Pasteur statue outside their high school once a week to search for the crop. They used to say 4:20 Louis, but eventually dropped the Louis.

They never found the mystery crop but they had a new secret code to say to each other when they were referring to weed without their parents or teachers knowing what they were talking about.

So how did it become a national saying in the 70's? According to History, the Waldos had connections to the band Grateful Dead. One of the Waldos’ father managed the Dead’s real estate, and another member's older brother was good friends with Dead’s bassist Phil Lesh, and managed a Dead sideband. The Waldos had backstage access and often used the phrase 420. According to Capper, one of the Waldos members, stated, “When somebody passes a joint or something, ‘Hey, 420.’ So it started spreading through that community.” And the rest was history.

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