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420 An Origin Story

420 origin story

When you say the time 4:20, everyone knows what’s up. It’s just part of the culture at this point. But how did this time/term come to be that it was the staple of smoking culture? While there are several different theories, this one is the truth. Let’s take a trip back in time to San Rafael in 1971.

Where’s Waldos?

Waldos were a group of people who liked to hang out by a wall after school. Not very original, I know.

However, this group of teenagers had set it upon themselves to go searching for a lost cannabis crop they had learned about. Get this; they found out about it because the grower of said crop had made a treasure map to find it.

On the campus, in the center is a statue of Louis Pasteur. The Waldos had agreed to meet at this statue everyday at a mutually agreed upon time, 4:20. Day in and day out, they went and searched for this lost cannabis plant, shortening the code word of “4:20 Louis” to just 4:20.

Kids at the school began to catch on that 4:20 meant marijuana although at the time it was really about finding marijuana. But who cares, people mixing things up is a great way to begin a movement.

The real question remains, how did it get out of that school?

How did it get out of the school?

Grateful Dead. Apparently, in California, there are tons of Deadheads (and there’s water in the ocean.)

A ton of grateful dead followers passed through this city and spent a lot of time as roadies and such. With their advocation for the term came it’s wide spread usage. With Grateful Dead picking up in popularity and spreading even further that’s when the term became much more used and spread out.

Now, it has become apparent that many people observe the holiday as a counterculture holiday such as Alberta, BC, and Hippie Hill.


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