Meaning of 420: Why April 20 Became National Weed Day?

Meaning of 420: Why April 20 Became National Weed Day?

Nowadays, we often hear about the loosening of marijuana laws. It seems like in the near future smoking a blunt or joint in public will be considered completely normal. Today such luxury is allowed only in five states of America. Does it mean that 420 is not a holiday anymore? Of course, it is! We are adults, and we are not as naive as the government wants us to be. People will not change their traditions just because marijuana is not 100 percent legal.

By the way, do you know what 420 means? For many years, people have speculated about the true meaning of 420. Some myths say that the holiday’s name is the police code for marijuana, others state that 420 is the number of chemical compounds that are found in cannabis, some myths even stress the connection with the birthday of Adolf Hitler on April 20, 1889.

However, in the name of putting all the rumors and suggestions to rest, let us say that the origin of 420 is much more innocent. Five friends from San Rafael High School in California started the 420 tradition by accident and without any intentions. The code first appeared in 1972, when guys planned to meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 before some expedition to smoke free weed.

Later, the code 420 became used for all pot-related activities, like asking other people if they had any smoking weed or if they wanted to get high in their company. The code helped guys keep what they were talking about in secret both from teachers and parents. Grown-ups can be such loggerheads!

But how did the code spread beyond the walls of San Rafael School? For that, we have to thank the Grateful Dead, the band from San Francisco. One of the boys became friends with the group’s bassist Phil Lesh, in the presence of whom the company used the code 420. Probably, it was the Dead that spread it across the country while on tour. In 1991, Steven Hager, the editor of High Times, published the the detailed history of 420, which he heard from the band. Besides, the editor planned a festival around the date and created a separate section for it in the magazine. Today, April 20 is the date when all marijuana smokers gather to honor five guys from California.

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