Both marijuana smokers and non-smokers recognise April 20 or 4/20 as a landmark international holiday for cannabis culture. It not only marks a celebration but also calls for states to legalise marijuana use – but why the 20th of April?
Many rumours say “420” is code among police officers for “marijuana smoking in progress.” Some say 4/20 is also Adolf Hitler’s birthday. And some quotes Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” because 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420. The actual origin of the date comes from a group of Californian high school students who called themselves the “Waldo’s". They would meet every day at 4.20pm by a statue of chemist, Louise Pasteur, to find a particular cannabis crop, smoke joint after joint in their search for the weed.
In 2012 one of the group members, Steve Capper, told The Huffington Post: “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4.20. It originally started out 4.20-Louis, but we eventually dropped the Louis. We’d meet at 4.20 and get in my old ’66 Chevy Impala, and of course, we’d smoke instantly an all the way out to Point Reyes, and smoke and the entire time we were out there too. We did it week after week but we never actually found the patch.
They then became known as the “Waldo's” because they met at a wall. Dave Reddix, another of the "Waldo's" group members, became friends with the bassist of The Grateful Dead and the band is said to have helped popularise the term among fans. A reporter from the High Times magazine – an authority on cannabis culture – took notice of the term and 420 soon became known worldwide as code for marijuana.
Since the term has been coined, people all over the world group together in a public location to celebrate and smoke marijuana to create a culture of acceptance of marijuana despite the bad name it has received as a drug. Just a couple of these locations are Hippie Hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park near the Haight-Ashbury district, The University of Colorado's Boulder campus, Ottawa, Ontario, at Parliament Hill and Major's Hill Park and even Hyde Park in the UK.
To commemorate the day, we had to pay attention to those special couple people who just couldn't cope on 420 day.