Just Folks. Apr 20.
420. Weed Day.
Back when I was in high school, we took a field trip into NYC on April 20th. Many of my class didn't know that April 20th was also counterculture's national holiday for protest against the criminal status for marijuana use. I remember walking to Union Square wearing our uniforms (pleated skirts and blue blazers), and smelling and seeing everyone "legally toking up," while feeling like--knowing--that I was still "forbidden." I was an outsider. I was attending a private school and the rules were clear-- if you were caught smoking pot on or off campus (i.e. field trips) you'd most likely be expelled. I was envious of the freedom of the protesters, and the communal experience....Now, however, almost 30 years later, with the shift to marijuana legalization in some states and the trend toward legalization gaining greater momentum, this day of "protest" may in fact lose its meaning all together and perhaps cause the end of 4-20 day. Weed Day would still be on my calendar though!
Click on the image to enlarge.
So here’s what we have as the unofficial “skinny” on the origins of 420 as code name for a smoke (marijuana). Lore has it that back in the early 1970s a group of students at San Rafael High School in Marin County, CA would get together at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana, next to the statue of Louis Pasteur. The group was known as the “Waldos” and their code for meeting up for this purpose was 420.
Subsequently, one of the Waldos got a job as a roadie for Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, and 420 was adopted as code among “Deadheads.” The story goes that in 1990 Deadheads handed out flyers inviting interested parties to a “smoke-in” in Oakland, CA on 4/20 at 4:20 p.m., and the "event" story was picked up by a reporter with High Times in 1991, and “so it goes.” There’s more to the back-story, if you want to do some research, which apparently involves “safaris”—adventures that went along with the Waldos' 4:20 p.m. tradition.
In fact, the Waldos are still around. Anyway, at least now we know. I've been so cloistered.
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