The History of 420


You know about “420.” What it stands for and what it calls for you to do. But do you know the history of the number that has become a celebration of pot smoking? When the clock strikes 4:20, and you’ve got your medical marijuana ready, do you think about who made the number popular and why almost everyone (pot smokers or not) knows what it means?

There are plenty of false stories about the history of “420,” like it being police code for “marijuana smoking in progress” or it having to do with Adolf Hitler’s birthday. Some believe that “420” originates from Bob Dylan’s song, “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” because 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420.

 All of these tales are wrong.


Who Really Coined the Term “420?”

It’s almost confirmed now that “420” stems from a group of pot-smoking high school students living in Marin County, California, in 1971. Credible sources say that the San Rafael High School students met at 4:20 p.m., by a campus statue of chemist Louis Pasteur. They would circulate the code word, “420,” and then gather by a wall that helped them earn the group nickname, “The Waldos.”


How Did “420” Spread? 

Two of the group members, Steve Capper and David Reddix, wrote a piece for the Huffington Post explaining their meetings and how “420” became widely known. According to the pair, one of the members had a brother who knew the bassist for the Grateful Dead, Phil Lesh. Lesh and Deadheads from Oakland supposedly passed out flyers appealing to those who would like to join the band in smoking pot at 4:20 p.m. on April 20th.

Steve Bloom, a High Times Magazine former reporter, frequently wrote stories on marijuana culture, and he published the flyer in 1991. After High Times ran his article and the flyer, “420” became known around the world for its reference to marijuana. Bloom credited “The Waldos” with the origins of “420,” and today pot smokers everywhere get together at 4:20 and on 4/20, to light up as a symbol of community.

If you like to join in on “420,” or haven’t yet but want to, Green Door West delivers premium organic weed and vegan marijuana edibles that you can celebrate with. Choose from a large array of flowers and pre-rolls, and then pick out the perfect gear to go with your selection.

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