420 is something of a holiday for marijuana consumers. The quantity has expanded to encompass all things those in the marijuana community hold dear. And it all started as being an inside joke among a group of Northern California high school students in the early 1970s.
April 20, or 4/20, is actually a significant day for the marijuana-consuming community.
4:20 p.m. is considered an optimal time to light up for smokers, and spaces where one can smoke marijuana tend to be labelled 420 Friendly Hotels. The word was even included in the Oxford English Dictionary, employed to make reference to the “act of smoking marijuana.” Suffice to say, the number 420 holds an exclusive place in marijuana smokers’ hearts. But where did all of this come from? How did 420 become an international phenomenon?
The tale begins in California during the early 1970s when a group of high school students – referred to as “The Waldos” for a wall they might all chill on after school – received some excellent news. Two of “The Waldos,” Steve Capper and Dave Reddix, stopped by “The Criminals” podcast earlier this month to share with the tale of how an inside joke among a couple of San Rafael high school students went worldwide.
“I was sittin’ on our hangout spot – the wall – at San Rafael Senior High School,” Capper told host Phoebe Judge. Capper says a buddy told him that his brother, a Coast Guard officer, was growing marijuana. The friend said that his brother was scared of getting caught by his commanding officer, so he abandoned the stash inside the forest through the Point Reyes Coast Guard Station. Capper’s friend drew him a map, that he taken to the remainder of the Waldos. “We were teenage boys, and this was free weed,” Reddix remembers. “Are you kidding?”
Reddix says the boys chose to meet with a statue of Louis Pasteur on the senior high school campus at 4:20 p.m. to start out searching for the marijuana.
In 2018, it is possible to celebrate 420 legally. “We fired up a doobie, got high, so we hopped in Steve’s ’66 Impala, so we smoked all the way on the market,” Reddix said. “It looked just like a scene coming from a Cheech and Chong movie, we’d get the whole car clouded up,” Capper said. “We were talking and grooving.”
The Waldos would meet up at 4:20 p.m. every single day to carry on the search, though they admit – a lot more than four decades later – which they never found the mythical stash. The Four:20 p.m. meet-up time stuck, however, and became the group’s slang term for smoking marijuana. “We’d remind each other inside the hallways that people were going to meet at Louis at 4:20,” Capper said. And “420 Louis” quickly became just “420.”
“It was sort of a knowing smile, when we’d claim that to one another,” Reddix said. As their number of friends got larger, more and more people inside their social circle adopted the term for his or her own marijuana-smoking activities. Years mqjtnj, they’d see “420” carved into park benches and spray-painted on bridges, Capper said.
But it wasn’t until Reddix’s brother introduced the phrase to his friend Phil Lesh, who happened to get the bass player of the Grateful Dead, that the term really took off. “What started out being a little private code, secret joke, turned into an international phenomenon,” Reddix said.
Lesh confirmed just as much to The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim during 2009. Lesh said he was friends with Dave Reddix’s brother Patrick, and said he “wouldn’t be surprised” if “The Waldos” created the term. Capper and Reddix say they have got actual physical proof that “The Waldos” coined the word.
“We maintain the evidence locked in a vault in San Francisco,” Capper said. “This is historical stuff.” Evidence, in accordance with “The Criminals” host Phoebe Judge, is actually a clipping from the San Rafael Secondary School newspaper from 1974. One of “The Waldos,” when asked a question about his best advice for that graduating class, simply responded “420.” Now, in 2018, it’s not just a holiday for smokers, but a massive marketing opportunity for legal marijuana brands like MedMen and Eaze.