How April 20 Became a Weed Holiday

Happy 420 to you and yours and your bong

Smoking dope, toking it up and rolling a doobie are just a few crazy ways to explain smoking marijuana. Not only does smoking weed have all sorts of different ways to say it, it also has a special day to many that enjoy Mary Jane. 420, also known as April 20, is a day many associate with marijuana. Not many know why this date was chosen as the national holiday for cannabis, but there's actually a few reasons.

There's many myths behind the origins of 4/20. Some think police officers have a code of 420 for “smoking in progress.” Some believe it's the song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” by Bob Dylan. This is because 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420. Some even think it's Adolf Hitler's birthday so there must be some strange connection. The real answer might not be so deep.

"The Waldos" was a little group made up of five students at San Rafael High School in Marin County, California. Back in 1971, these students met each day at 4:20 PM by the statue of Louis Pasteur, a chemist. This time was chosen because most of the school activities ended and everyone was going home for the day. The crew met by a wall, thus calling themselves, "The Waldos." Besides meeting at the exact time, they also used 420 as a code for cannabis.

The group heard through the grapevine that a Coast Guard service member had a plot of plants he could no longer tend to, and set out to find the free bud. Each day they met at the same time and get in one of the crew's cars searching for the dope. They smoked along the way. They never found the free patch, but the code word was born.

The way the code spread has a crazy story. The Grateful Dead moved blocks away from San Rafael High School. One of the Waldo's fathers did real estate for the band and one had a family member that was good friends with the band. Somehow the code was mentioned to the Grateful Dead in one of these hangout sessions. the Grateful Dead toured throughout the decades spreading the new code throughout the underground Deadhead world. Deadheads reportedly passed out flyers one day that invited everyone to smoke on April 20 at 4:20 PM. One of the flyers landed in the hands of "High Times" magazine reporter, Steve Bloom. He printed the flyer.

The term and the day somehow became a cult classic. The founders, "The Waldos," went on to normal lives and don't sit around smoking all day. Though they might not celebrate their own day, millions across the world set aside a special time at 4:20 PM on April 20 to enjoy smoking a doobie, rolling some weed and dancing with Mary Jane.

Maybe it's all just lore, but happy 420 anyway!

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