420 is a short-hand for “marijuana” or “smoking marijuana.”

April 20th (4/20) is an internationally recognized cannabis holiday that celebrates marijuana in the form of public events, special sales, and more.

4:20 p.m. is also observed by some as a specific time in which to consume marijuana.

What Does 420 Mean?

The origin of the term “420” as it relates to cannabis is muddied by urban legends and untruths. Originally claimed to be “the police code for a marijuana bust.” However, the origin of “420” is now accepted to have been started by a group of California high school students who would meet at 4:20 p.m. every day to search for a plot of land where cannabis was said to be growing. Here is the story on the official website for this group of students, known as The Waldos:

In the fall of ’71 Waldo Steve was given a treasure map to a patch of weed on the Point Reyes Peninsula. The map was given to him by a friend whose brother was in the U.S. Coast Guard and was growing cannabis. The coastguardsman was paranoid he would get busted so he granted permission to harvest. The Waldos™ all agreed to meet at 4:20 p.m. at the statue of chemist Louis Pasteur on the campus of San Rafael High. They met, got high, and drove out to search for the patch.

In the ensuing school days the Waldos would use the term ‘420 Louie™’ to remind each other of their after school quest. They eventually dropped the ‘Louie’ part and just said ‘420’ to refer to cannabis.

Images to Illustrate the Definition:


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