Happy 420, everyone!! Today, on 4/20, cannabis users will be lighting up across the globe to celebrate our culture’s biggest day. Ask any seasoned cannabis user and they can tell you that 420 is THE weed holiday and the best time to smoke weed. 420, 4:20, or 4/20 is a cannabis culture idiom for “it’s weed time”. The peak of this is held on 4/20 at 4:20 pm. In addition to celebrating cannabis use, it is also a day used to campaign for legalization in parts of the world it is still prohibited. While many of us know what 4/20 means, not many know where the term came from. Commonly used in the culture, it also relates to the history of the day which can be traced back to early 70s California.
How did 4/20 start?
Originally the term was devised as a cover for a group of high school kids planning to locate an abandoned local cannabis crop. Legend has it that 5 California high school students in the early 70s-Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich-created the secret code to indicate to each other that they would meet later in the day, at 4:20 precisely, to smoke weed together. They chose this particular time because extracurriculars were usually through by then, but their parents were not yet home from work. When they passed each other in the hallway and said “420”, they immediately knew what that meant. Capper told the Huffington Post “I could say to one of my friends “420” and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying ‘Do you want to go smoke’, ‘Do you have any’, or ‘Are you stoned right now?’. I was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it.” “Our teachers and parents didn’t know what we were talking about.” Reddix told TIME magazine in 2017 “We got tired of the Friday-night football scene with all the jocks. We were the guys sitting under the stands smoking a doobie, wondering what we are doing there.” The group was nicknamed the “Waldos”, because they always smoked against a wall at their school near a Louis Pasteur statue. Their original phrase was “420 Louis” which represented the time and location to meet, but was later shortened to just “420”.
This story was popularized by High Times writer Steven Hager in 1998. The original story in 1991 erroneously credited a police code as the source of the term, but it was corrected years later when the Waldos were finally given their credit and their story was told. Hager attributed the spread of the term to Grateful Dead followers after Dave Reddix of the Waldos roadied for bassist Phil Lesh. He called for 4:20 pm to be the perfect socially acceptable time of the day to consume cannabis and the legend began. On December 28, 1990, a group of Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers that invited people to smoke “420” on April 20th at 4:20 pm. One of the flyers ended up in the hands of High Times then-editor, Steve Bloom. The magazine printed the ad and then continued to reference the number and the term has since spread around the world.
While the phrase was coined in America, celebrations of 420 can be seen worldwide. A lot of these gatherings and celebrations are also used as peaceful protests to pressure their government into decriminalizing cannabis in places it is not yet legal.
While our neighbors to the North have already legalized cannabis use, they use the date as a social gathering with music, food, merchandise, and of course, A LOT of weed. Their largest events take place in Toronto and Vancouver.
Seen as one of the cannabis capitals of the world, Amsterdam has been a weed lovers’ dream destination for decades. Famous for their “cafes”, people have been able to legally consume cannabis in Amsterdam since 1976. They host the annual world-famous Amsterdam Elite Cannabis Cup and have been hosting it for the last 30 years. The event features live music, attractions, guest speakers and infused lunches.
While cannabis is still illegal in the majority of Australian provinces, Australia passed the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) which legalized the possession of up to 50 grams of cannabis for adults 21 and older. Since this leaves a bit of a gray area of legality, many Aussie cannabis enthusiasts still gather at events like 420 celebrations. The biggest in the country are found in Melbourne and Sydney. The Sydney celebration offers competition events like joint rolling and also offers food and entertainment.
Hyde Park sees thousands of cannabis lovers gather each year on 420, even though cannabis is still very illegal in Europe. They gather in droves and light up to show their support for weed law reforms.
Milan hosts its annual 3-day 420 Hemp Fest each year. This event covers over 10,000 sq. ft. offering vendors, talks, live music, and food. It also hosts the Cannabis Light Cup, which is its annual competition for weed growers and producers.
Held on the picturesque shores of the Caribbean Sea, the Bright Side Festival has everything. In addition to the usual festival offerings of food, music, and live speakers, this festival even offers a spa! They also offer the Bob Marley tour, which makes the entire experience feel even more authentic.
No matter where you live in the world, there is bound to be a 420 event near you. Cities big and small have started to realize the potential of these cannabis celebrations. Whether you celebrate this 420 at a festival, private party, or solo, we just hope you have the most amazing and fun-filled 420 possible. Don’t forget to make today even better by celebrating with Juniper Jill products!
Must be 21+. Please consume responsibly.