It’s April 20, otherwise known as 4/20, which has become something of a high holy holiday for smokers of pot and their advocates (yea, pot smokers!). I got curious about the origin of the term “420” as regards marijuana and found this delightful account on Wikipedia (where else?), with a half dozen citations to attest to its veracity. I love the fact that the term’s point of origin is a Marin County high school of the 1970s – you know, before the yuppies, hot tubs and cocaine of the 80s.
The earliest use of the term began among a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California, in 1971, calling themselves the Waldos, because “their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school”. The group first used the term in connection to a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High Schoolas their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. Multiple failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a codeword that the teens used to mean pot-smoking in general.
Were you a Waldo? Let me know in the comments. In the meantime, here’s some pot-themed reads from the blog to keep your mind ablaze while observing 4/20: