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What 4/20 Really Means for the Cannabis Community

Of all the hallmarks of cannabis, 4/20 reigns supreme as the community’s banner to rally around. April 20th has become a day that all cannabis users, activists, and patients can celebrate our favorite plant and all of its benefits. But where did 4/20 come from? And what does it mean to the cannabis community?

You’ve heard all the myths about 4/20, that its penal code or police radio slang, but that’s all BS. The true originators of 4/20 were a bunch of California high school students in the early 70s. They were a group of friends known as “The Waldos”, who enjoyed smoking cannabis, and would meet at 4:20pm to partake. That moment of freedom between classes ending and parents returning from work was the perfect time to meet and smoke, and 4/20 became their own personal code for it.

How it became popular outside this group of friends though, is another story. Later in life, one of The Waldos would wind up as a roadie for The Grateful Dead, and the term 4/20 gained some new fans. So much so that in 1991, a group of Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers that invited people to smoke “420” on April 20th at 4:20 pm. Throw in an attending High Times reporter to pick it up, and the magazine to run with it, and you’ve got the origins of 4/20.

But what does 4/20 really mean to the cannabis community? It’s more than just a day to get high. 420 is a symbol that unites all cannabis users under a single flag, on a single day. It’s a time and place where we can come together, to celebrate not just the cannabis plant, but also how far we have come as a community. It’s a day where we can stand proudly with other cannabis consumers to show the world we’re more than a stereotype, we’re parents, business owners, tax payers, just like them.

The fight is far from over, but one day, the entire planet will legalize cannabis. And when that party happens, you can bet it’ll take place on 4/20.

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