“4/20 is kind of like a holiday.” My informant is referring to a “holiday” widely known in the cannabis culture where one smoke marijuana on April 20th . “Its common for people to smoke at 4:20 pm but on 4/20 you smoke basically all day. Its a day that people come together, hang out and enjoy a bowl or blunt.” My informant refers to a pipe bowl, a small amount of cannabis that is smoked and passed along thorough a smoking pipe. A blunt refers to a rolled up cigar-like way of smoking the cannabis. When asked if he knew where 4/20 originated from, he takes awhile to respond. “There are a couple of stories I’ve heard.” He lists off a few- the number of chemicals in the plant, Hitler’s birthday, the police code for marijuana smoking in progress.
But the most reliable story is that 4/20 originated in San Raphael, California in the 1970s. “A group of five friends at San Raphael High School called themselves the Waldos because their usual hang out spot was by some wall. They had heard about a lost cannabis plant somewhere in the woods or a park or something, so they planned to meet everyday at 4:20, after practice, to look for the plant. They never found it but they blazed the whole time while they looked for it. So they just started saying 420 to set up a smoke sesh”. This is a widely known story, but no one really is sure if it is true or how it spread all over the world. My informants suggests that the spreading of the term could be from music, a “universal language’. 420 has been referenced in all types of music from reggae, to hip-hop/rap, to rock and roll. So music being the catalyst for popularity of this counterculture “holiday” is plausible. Which ever way this has grown to be a phenomena, mostly by word of mouth and a tradition among cannabis enthusiasts alike.