The origins of April 20th as the celebration of Weed Day, 4/20 or whatever you may call it, is a difficult one to trace. Many people have different versions of how it all started. The truth, however, goes back to California and the 1970’s.
Steven Bloom, the current publisher of CelebStoner.com, was a big part of the introduction of this idea. He was walking through the pre-party for a Grateful Dead concert in Oakland, known as The Lot. Bloom was handed a flyer. That flyer announced a group would be “meeting at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing, and it gave a location. This flyer, however, did not take credit for introducing the term 420-ing or for creating the idea.
Instead, it shared the story that 420 was the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. In the late 1970’s, that knowledge made its way to the local smokers in San Rafael, California, who began to say “Let’s 420” to indicate their desire to smoke Marijuana.
However, there is no actual police connection to the term. Instead, it starts with a group of five high-schoolers. They were called the Waldos, because they preferred to spend their time on a wall outside of the school. These five individuals created the term 420 in 1971.
The term quickly gained popularity and reach through time, becoming the phenomenon it is today. It shows up in popular entertainment like the movie Pulp Fiction, where all the clocks are set to 4:20. It shows up in Craigslist postings, when individuals are searching for “420 friendly” roommates. It is a popular reference on college campuses and at various venues throughout the US, when people are part of a certain culture and want to reach out to others without letting the wrong individuals know their hobbies.
At this point, however, 420 is widely known slang. Even those who are not interested in anything Marijuana-related can understand a 420 reference, thanks to the various places in entertainment and media it has popped up again and again. Individuals are not hiding when they make a 420 reference. The holiday is well known, although there are rarely parades or other significant events for 420. There are simply groups that get together to share a friendly space and experience and then go on their way once again.