The history of 420

The history of 420

420 is a term that has become synonymous with marijuana culture. It has been used as a code word among smokers, a symbol of resistance against prohibition, and a rallying cry for advocates of marijuana legalization. The origins of 420 are shrouded in myth and misinformation, but there are a few stories that have gained widespread acceptance. In this blog post, we will explore the history of 420 and the various theories surrounding its origins.

The Origins of 420

The earliest known use of the term 420 can be traced back to a group of high school students in San Rafael, California in the early 1970s. The group, known as the Waldos, used to meet up at 4:20 pm to smoke marijuana. The story goes that the Waldos had heard about a secret stash of cannabis plants that was being grown near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard Station. They planned to meet up after school, smoke some weed, and go on a search for the plants.

The Waldos never found the stash, but the term 420 became a code word among them and their friends for smoking marijuana. The term eventually spread beyond the Waldos and became part of the wider marijuana culture.

Another theory about the origins of 420 involves a group of musicians in the 1960s. The story goes that a group of musicians, including Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, used to smoke marijuana at 4:20 pm. This theory has been debunked, however, as the term 420 was not in use at the time.

420 as a Symbol of Resistance

In the 1990s, 420 became a symbol of resistance against marijuana prohibition. A group of activists known as the "High Times Freedom Fighters" used the term to protest against the war on drugs. They would gather on April 20th (4/20) to smoke marijuana and call for the legalization of the drug.

Today, 420 is still used as a symbol of resistance against marijuana prohibition. It is also a rallying cry for advocates of marijuana legalization, who argue that the drug should be treated like alcohol and tobacco.


The origins of 420 may be shrouded in myth and misinformation, but the term has become an important part of marijuana culture. Whether you see it as a code word, a symbol of resistance, or a rallying cry for legalization, 420 has come to represent the fight for the right to smoke marijuana. As attitudes towards marijuana continue to evolve, it will be interesting to see how the meaning of 420 changes over time.

Back to blog

Leave a comment