I'm here to tell you the REAL history of how 420 came about. But first, let's start with some false claims.
420 is the penal code section for marijuana use in California. Nope. Section 420 of the California penal code refers to obstructing entry on public land. The penal codes of other states list different entries for 420, but none of them matches anything having to do with marijuana.
However, on 1 January 2004 the Governor of California signed that state's Senate Bill 420, which regulates marijuana used for medical purposes. This bill comes years after the term '420' was associated with marijuana and indeed its number likely was chosen because of the existing pop culture connection. This is the tail wagging the dog, not the other way around.
It's the Los Angeles or New York police radio code for marijuana smoking in progress. It's not the police radio code for anything, let alone that.
It's the number of chemical compounds in marijuana. The number of chemical compounds in marijuana is 315, according to the folks at High Times magazine.
April 20 is the date that Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, or Janis Joplin died. Though these performers were strongly identified with drug use during their brief lifetimes and the emerging drug culture after their demises, none of them kicked the bucket on April 20. Morrison died on July 3, Hendrix on September 18, and Joplin on October 4.
The 20th of April is the best time to plant marijuana. There's no one "best time" — that answer would change from one part of the country to another, or even one country to another.
Albert Hofmann took the first deliberate LSD trip at 4:20 on 19 April 1943. This was indeed the case — his lab notes back this up. But this wasn't the source of "420," just an oddball coincidence. (For the pedants out there, Hofmann's first LSD trip, which was accidental, took place on 16 April 1943.)
It's the code you send to your drug dealer's pager. Yeah, right. All drug dealers recognize a '420' page as "Please be waiting on the corner with my baggie of wildwood weed."
When the Grateful Dead toured, they always stayed in Room 420. Untrue, says Grateful Dead Productions spokesman Dennis McNally.
Now that we got those out of the way, let's find the TRUE origin of 420.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
420, 4:20 or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) refers to consumption of cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with cannabis subculture. The date April 20 is sometimes referred to as "Weed Day" or "Pot Day".
The term was coined from a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California, United States in 1971. The teens would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana outside the school.
The group called itself the Waldos because its members hung out by a wall after school. Writer Ryan Grim, citing interviews with anonymous Waldos, claims that the group met by a statue of Louis Pasteur on the school grounds at 4:20 p.m. to search for an abandoned cannabis crop near Point Reyes that they had heard about. They never found the stash, Grim writes, but smoked plenty of marijuana while looking for it.
High Times Creative Director Steven Hager was the first person to track down the Waldos and publish their account of the origins of the term. Hager wrote an article in October 1998 issue High Times "Are You Stoner Smart or Stoner Stupid?" in which he called for 4:20 PM to be the socially accepted hour of the day to consume cannabis. "I believe 420 is a ritualization of cannabis use that holds deep meaning for our subculture," wrote Hager. "It also points us in a direction for the responsible use of cannabis."
Well, I know about 9/10 of you would tl;dr it, so I'll put it simply.
Originally Posted by Nitekillr
A group of kids from some high school called the Waldos smoked every day at 4:20 pm looking for some pot near a statue, or near a wall. Some guy who had a magazine about pot wrote about it. And that's how 420 became famous.
So there you go. Now you can show off to your friends that you stole from someone that stole from something that steals from everybody else!