4/20 Is The Stoner's Christmas - But Where Does The Name Come From?
It's 4/20 (April 20, get it?) and I'm sure your buddy who has the Bob Marley poster (no frame) up in his front room has been filling your newsfeed with hashtags all day. #4/20 #LegalizeIt #JustAPlant.
Well, it's time to pull up your HUF Plantlife socks because I'm about to drop some serious stoner knowledge on you. Prepare to impress your friends.
There's a few different ideas of where 4/20 came from. But generally they're WRONG. Dead wrong.
"Bob Dylan Was Behind It"
Nah, it wasn't Bob Dylan who coined the phrase. Some people believe that Bob Dylan's 'Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35' was behind 4/20 as the lyrics include:
"Well, they'll stone ya when you're trying to be so good
"They'll stone ya just a-like they said they would
"They'll stone ya when you're tryin' to go home
"Then they'll stone ya when you're there all alone
"But I would not feel so all alone
"Everybody must get stoned."
Plus the fact 12 times 35 is 420, it seems like it could be a legitimate thing, right? Well, no. That's just people looking far too much into things. Funnily enough, it's the kind of thing you'd notice if you were high.
"It's The Police Code For Weed Smoking"
Wrong again, my stoner friend. 420 actually refers to a homicide, in America at least.
In fictional Crime Scene Investigation (CSI), 420 also refers to homicide. Their codes go like this...
420 = Homicide
420A = Murder/Non-negligent homicide
420B = Manslaughter
420Z = Attempted homicide
421 = Sick or injured
"April 20 Is The Best Date To Plant Weed"
Well, that kind of depends on where you live. If you live in England, it's probably raining and snowing. These are two things that you wouldn't want around when you're growing weed. The chances are, if you're growing weed then it'll be indoors. So it really doesn't matter what date it is.
"It's The Number Of A Bill In The US Congress To Legalise Weed"
To be fair, this is actually true. But it's not where the term came from. The California Senate Bill 420 (also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act) was a bill introduced by John Vasconcellos of the California State Senate, and subsequently passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Gray Davis in 2003.
They were looking to establish guidelines, such as how many plants and how much processed cannabis a medical marijuana patient is allowed to have.
The fact it was named 'The California Senate Bill 420' is clearly just a little nod to the pot smokers. Nice.
So What's The Real Reason?
Back in 1971, five San Rafael High School friends used to hang out by a wall outside the school. From this, the name 'The Waldos' came to pass.
Among them were Mark Gravitch, Dave Reddix and Steve Capper. However, they gave themselves nicknames - Waldo Mark, Waldo Dave... you get the idea.
The Waldos had one mission in life. Well, technically two. The first of which was to smoke weed. The second was to find an abandoned plot of marijuana plants in Point Reyes. They heard that the Coast Guard had been forced to leave them somewhere, so they'd meet at 4:20pm every day back in 1971 and look for it.
They'd meet at a statue of a French microbiologist known as Louis Pasteur, get high, and stumble around trying to find it.
Louis Pasteur. Credit: Wikipedia
Sadly, they never found the stash. But 4/20 was born. The time when they'd meet, get high, and presumably have some of the best days of their lives.
Steve Capper told Huffington Post: "We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20.
"It originally started out 4:20-Louis, and we eventually dropped the Louis."
Funnily enough, Waldo Dave's older brother, Patrick, was good friends with Grateful Dead's bassist - Phil Lesh.
Now, this is where it gets a little fuzzy. Probably due to the copious amounts of weed smoking. It seems that Patrick must have spread the term to Phil, who then in turn took it everywhere with him on tour.
High Times (a massively popular cannabis publication) got hold of the term, and it snowballed.
In the late 80s, Steve Hager, then-editor of the magazine, got hold of the term and loved it. He told Huffington Post: "I started incorporating it into everything we were doing.
"I started doing all these big events - the World Hemp Expo Extravaganza and the Cannabis Cup - and we built everything around 4/20.
"The publicity that High Times gave it is what made it an international thing. Until then, it was relatively confined to the Grateful Dead subculture. But we blew it out into an international phenomenon."
So there you have it. It's all down to a group of five stoners who just loved getting high and having a good time. It couldn't have a better origin to be honest.
Fair Use Source: Mel Ramsay with LADBible