Both Spinach™ smokers and non-Spinach™ smokers know
April 20 is a national holiday for the culture, but 420’s origin
story is hazy.
Why we call it 420
Many believe “420” was a code name among law enforcement. Some folks think 420 is a reference to Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” because 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420.
To be blunt, those theories are untrue.
The most credible origin story has roots at San Rafael High School, located in Northern California.
The school is cited as the very place where the phrase 420 started; originally 420 served as a code word for a group of kids at the school who called themselves “The Waldos”. The group would meet in front of a statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 p.m. every day to smoke, near the statue and in secret locations on campus.
The 420 code name spread throughout the campus and outside of it in the ‘70s. As the usage spread, the original meaning of the phrase 420 faded away.
Flash-forward twenty years to December 28, 1990, when a group of Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers that invited people to smoke “420” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m. A flyer ended up with Steve Bloom, High Times reporter and the magazine printed the flyer in 1991 and continued to reference the number in its publication. Soon, it became known worldwide as a moniker for cannabis.
Why we celebrate 420
420 gatherings, parades, demonstrations, and “smoke-ins” were all a vital part in ending the stigma, which has in many places meant the end of prohibition. Historically, 420 celebrations are peaceful and non-violent spaces where fellow Spinach™-lovers can smoke in public without the threat of arrest.
This April, Canadians will celebrate 420 and won’t be breaking any laws.
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