The origins of ’420′
420 is linked to marijuana use and April 20 is celebrated as the day to smoke and get high, but its origin is often obscure. Some cite it as a police code for smoking in progress, or the number of chemical compounds in marijuana, but the real story, as far as it can be traced, involves none of those things.
The term was first coined in 1971 by a group of high school students from San Rafael High School, Calif. “Four-twenty” referred to the time at which they would meet up to smoke, namely, 4:20 p.m.
The term is believed to have spread through the band The Grateful Dead, which rehearsed not far from San Rafael High School. As the band went on to play concerts both nationally and internationally, the term spread.
“High Times,” the magazine dedicated to marijuana and psychedelic drugs, started promoting the term through its events such as the World Hemp Expo Extravaganza and the Cannabis Cup, further contributing to its fame.
April 20 is linked to marijuana use, but other historical events occurring on that date include:
- 1836: the Wisconsin territory is created.
- 1871: the Third Force Act, also known as the Ku Klux Klan Act, is passed.
- 1889: the birth of Adolf Hitler.
- 1946: the League of Nations dissolves, giving its powers to the United Nations.
- 1999: the Columbine High School shooting.
Information courtesy Snopes, The Huffington Post and The People History
Compiled by Rachel Luchmun