It’s pretty common knowledge that the term “420” is related to the cannabis culture. But where did the term actually come from? How did this unrelated number become the one term that could describe an entire culture? Would you be surprised to find out that it came from a group of dudes in Marin County, CA called the “Waldos” back in the early 70’s?
Nicknamed the “Waldos” because they liked to hang out by the wall outside of San Rafael High School, the group of guys reportedly met at 4:20 each day when they wanted to “partake”. After a while, the time became code name for “let’s go get high” within the group. But how did the term end up growing into a global phenomenon?
The Grateful Dead.
It just so happened that a brother of one of the “Waldos” knew the bassist Phil Lesh and shared the term. On December 28, 1990, Deadheads in California handed out flyers inviting others to smoke 420 on April 20th at 4:20pm. After getting into the hands of a High Times reporter, the term was published and became globally known for its association with marijuana culture.
It’s silly to think a convenient time for a “safety meeting” would end up being such a fun stoner sensation. Over the years, stoners have found their own ways to make the term even more popular. In fact, the state of Colorado had to replace mile marker 420 with a 419.99 sign since sticky-fingered stoners continued to steal it. Dubbed the “420 Price is Right”, Evan Goding, an obvious ‘partaker’, got his 15 minutes of fame when he bid $420 or $1420 on every item during his appearance on the show. And if you look close, you’ll notice many of the clocks within the movie Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20.