April 20th may just seem like any other day, but for some reason the number 420 is associated with pot smokers everywhere. My question is simple. Why is this so? As the stoner holiday approaches more and more pot smokers will use the term “420” and it’s unfair to be left out of an inside joke that so many people are in on. Many smokers are aware of the number, but have no idea where it came from. My mission was to uncover the real truth behind the number.
It seems the original meaning of the term “420” is still a matter of some debate. The only thing that the stoner community can agree upon is that 420 has evolved to represent a time of day (4:20am & 4:20pm) that is meant for smoking. The time being either right before breakfast in the morning or right after work or school is over for the day in the early afternoon.
Myths and legends are apparently rampant in the stoner community. Some of these myths include the idea that 420 represents the number of active chemicals in marijuana. This is untrue. There are approximately 315 active chemicals in marijuana depending on which part of the plant is used. Although there are all these chemicals, the main active chemical that is very well known in the stoner community is THC. THC is what causes the euphoria that is experienced after smoke is inhaled.It is also argued that April 20th is Hitler’s birthday and ipso facto all pot smokers are Nazi’s. This is just flat out not true. Yes it is a coincidence that it is Hitler’s birthday, but 420 started out as a time, not a date. His birthday had nothing to do with it.
According to Steven Hager, editor of High Times, the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971, among a group of about a dozen pot-smokers who called themselves the Waldos. The term was shorthand for the time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis Pasteur, to smoke pot. Intent on developing their own discreet language, they made 420 code for a time to get high, and its use spread among members of an entire generation. While our teens feel that they know something we don’t, you can let them in on the fact that it was your generation that came up with the numbers.
The meaning of 420 was originally intended to represent the time of day when the Waldos would meet to smoke marijuana and socialize. This explanation for the origin of 420 has become widely accepted by the stoner community. However its true meaning is somewhat dubious to the stoner’s of today because 420 no longer means strictly the time of day to smoke. No, it is used broadly to talk about marijuana use and has become a globally used symbol of pot culture. The date 4/20 has become the stoner day of unity. 420 has become a way of identifying ones relationship with a: plant, ideology and community unto itself and the fact that this simple number can unify people in such ways is just marvelous.A quote from one of the Waldos in the High Times article states, “We did discover we could talk about getting high in front of our parents without them knowing by using the phrase 420.” Fortunately, your teenagers will not have that same option as their parents too grew up in a drug culture and should pretty much know better.