9 Secrets of the Number 420

9 Secrets of the Number 420

If you have ever read the comedy science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, then you are familiar with the number 42. According to the fictional supercomputer Deep Thought, it is an answer to the meaning of life. However, cannabis activists might propose to add another digit to the number.

Perhaps, you have heard what 420 and weed have in common.

Many people wrongly think that 420 became synonymous with cannabis because of Bob Marley’s birthday. He was born on April 20. In fact, the truth is hidden near the monument to Louis Pasteur, where a group of friends from San Rafael High School used to meet up at 4:20 p.m. to smoke weed and search for an abandoned marijuana field. Unfortunately, they never found the field. However, one of these school buddies later passed their code for getting high on to Phil Lesh, who was the bassist of Grateful Dead and spread it around the world. Then, somewhere along the line, April 20 became the date associated with marijuana. But here are some facts about 420 that you might not have heard.

Trudeau and April 20

Perhaps you might know which of the Canadian prime ministers promised to legalize recreational marijuana during the election period. It was Justin Trudeau, who was elected in 2015. His father Pierre was also a prime minister of Canada. Although he was far from being a cannabis supporter, Pierre Trudeau was inaugurated on April 20.

Bob Dylan’s song hides digit 420

If you listen to Bob Dylan, you might have heard the first song of his album Blonde on Blonde titled “Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35.” These words do not appear in the song itself. So what was the reason for this strange title? The answer is simple. If you multiply 12 by 35, you will get 420.  

“420 Louis”

Do you know that the term used to be a little longer than just “420”? Originally, the buddies from San Rafael High School used to say “4:20-Louis” because of the spot where they met. It was a monument to Louis Pasteur. Maybe if they had not shortened their catchphrase, we would call the process getting  “pasteurized” or “louied.” One more interesting fact about Pasteur is that the scientist completed his great experiment dedicated to spontaneous generation on April 20.     

Officials replaced Mile 420

Interstate 70 in Colorado is more than 450 miles long. However, you will not find a 420-mile sign there. Why? Because officials were tired of stoners stealing the sign and replaced it with a 419.99-mile marker.  

420 appears in movies

It is said that all clocks in Quentin Tarantino’s film Pulp Fiction show the same time—4:20. The truth is that not all of them are set to this particular time. For example, the watch of Captain Koons is set at 6:15.

But it is definitely 4:20 when Butch goes down the pawn shop stairs in Pulp Fiction or when Bill Murray gets up in the morning in Lost In Translation.

Bloody 4/20

Some terrible things have happened on April 20 in history. Among them, there were a mass shooting at Columbine High School, an earthquake in China, the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Ludlow Massacre, and the birthday of one of the cruelest men in the world—Adolf Hitler.

Senate Bill 420

One more fun fact about 420 is that it is the title of California’s medical marijuana law. It is known as California Senate Bill 420 or Medical Marijuana Program Act, which was signed by the governor in 2003. Another bill that appeared in 2010 in Guam also had the number 420 in its name.  

420 and LSD

It is known that Swiss scientist Albert Hofmann discovered the effects of LSD when he rode his bike home on April 19 (almost on April 20). Before the ride, he took a solid dose of 250 micrograms. So it became the first intentional acid trip. Also, this incident created a new holiday—Bicycle Day.

420 may become a holiday

Since Germans do not openly celebrate the birthday of Hitler on April 20, an American comedian Bill Maher has proposed to make it an official marijuana holiday. He says it would be much more logical than celebrating a racist maniac on Columbus Day. For this, he organized a campaign on Change.org.

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