Around the nation, and even around the globe, cannaseurs and stoners alike come together on 420. Whether it’s a once a year cannabis celebration on April 20th or a daily smoking ritual when the clock reads 4:20, one thing is for sure: 420 means weed, cannabis, marijuana, and everything that comes with our favorite green flowering plant.
But what are the origins of the cannabis culture slang, 420? And are all those 420 stories true? Over the years many myths have emerged in reference to 420, whether it be the supposed police dispatch code for cannabis or the date of death of the late Jimi Hendrix.
Some even say that 420 is the best day to plant marijuana but that seems a little farfetched. Keep on reading for the debated source and origins of the popular number that represents the celebration and consumption of cannabis.
Death and Birth of Cannaseurs
There seems to be a lot of stories about the origins of 420 and why we celebrate the cannabis holiday on April 20th. Here are some famous myths of death you might’ve heard over the years.
Myth: Bob Marley, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix, all died on April 20.
In fact, none of these superstars passed away on 4/20, and instead were probably associated with the date because of their cannabis usage. And yes, Hitler and Napoleon III were born on 4/20, but that’s irrelevant!
Tarantino’s Clocks in Pulp Fiction
Myth: All the clocks are set to 4:20
If you’re a movie buff and enjoy ripping the bong while watching your favorite films, chances are your squinty eyes caught several clocks set to 4:20 in Pulp Fiction. Considering Tarantino spent some time in Amsterdam with some reefer while writing the script, it’s clear that he thought that setting the clocks would be a neat Easter egg for cannabis enthusiasts alike.
But sadly, not all the clocks are set to 4:20. Myth Busted!
Police Dispatch Code
If you’ve been smoking reefer since before it was legalized in several states, then at some point you’ve probably heard that 420 is the police dispatch code for cannabis possession or public consumption. I mean it seems pretty feasible, and definitely the last thing you want to hear if you’re smoking a doobie in a public setting with your buddies. But unfortunately, this myth is BUSTED too.
Cannabis Chemical Compounds
Here’s another story you might of heard from one of your buddies. There are exactly 420 chemical compounds found in weed, hence why we use 420 for weed reference. This one sounds pretty legit, but the count is a few shy from the actual identifiable compounds found in marijuana, which can be more than 500 with about 120 terpenes and 70 cannabinoids.
Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35
A popular theory about Bob Dylan’s song is that it’s about marijuana. Considering the repetition of the word “stoned”, it’s easy to start seeing cannabis references in between Dylan’s lines. And when you multiply 12 by 35, what do you get? That’s right 420.
So, is Rainy Day Women about getting stoned and navigating the world in a haze? Most likely not, but that’s what’s great about music. It has a different meaning for everyone and can change as times change around us. So even if Dylan’s intention was to be religious or political, the weed references are there!
The Waldos in California
Now here’s the true origin of the famous 420.
In the early 70s, a group of five high school students in California, known as the Waldos for their designated chill spot, began referencing their meeting time for smoke sessions as 420 Louis. This meant that they’d meet at the Louis Pasteur statue outside of their high school at 4:20 to smoke some weed with good company.
Eventually they dropped “Louie” and began just saying 420 as their secret slang for sparking up. Initially they began meeting up because of a map they received to an abandoned cannabis crop.
The story goes that a U.S Coast Guardsman had abandoned a cannabis patch somewhere in the in the Point Reyes Peninsula for fear of being caught and ruining his career.
The boys never found the patch but they kept on smoking at 4:20 and eventually spread through the Grateful Dead community, being that they were friends with the bassist, Phil Lesh, and frequently attended parties, rehearsals, and smoke sessions.
To learn more about the Waldos and their story, check out
their website, https://420waldos.com/
So next time you’re sparking up with your buddies on 4/20 or 4:20, take a toke for the original 420 stoners, the Waldos. And without further ado, here are some 420 merch for your next spark up!
Here’s a simple but awesome sticker to decorate your belongings. Stick it on your favorite water bottle to remind you to stay hydrated during your sessions. Or stick it on your laptop, door, or notebook to remind you to ‘stay mad’ and light up a joint at 420.
If you still don’t have a bong, then it’s time to reconsider how you’re sparking up. Sure joints, and vape pens are great, but a bong is an essential in your cannabis arsenal.
Check out this 420 water pipe bong with a showerhead percolator for cooling and giving you smooth hits just about anywhere you choose to smoke! This small size makes it perfect for carrying around for a quick session, but if you’re looking for something a little bigger, check out our blog post on bongs.
Here’s a great rolling tray to help you keep track of the ‘Daze of the Week.’
Starting off with a small joint on Sunday and building up to the monster sized challenge 2 ft cone (I know right?), this rolling tray will help you roll some perfect joints to help you get through the week.
Stay tuned for our new monthly Cannabox theme for September, Hempire!