What is 420? 4 Reasons How 420 Became Apart of Cannabis Culture

When one thinks of “common words associated with marijuana”, “420” comes to mind as the official number and time of cannabis. But when you ask “What does 420 mean?”, the answers will probably all be very different. Here is the history of what 420 is and where it actually originated:

“The Waldos”

Northern California

The 420 moniker was born in 1971 in Northern California, specifically San Rafael. A group of five high school students, dubbing themselves “The Waldo’s” from hanging out at a wall near their high school, heard a marijuana crop that was hidden nearby San Reyes peninsula and agreed to meet at a statue of Louis Pasteur near the school to locate the cannabis.

“4:20 Louis”

The five would meet every week, smoking joints while searching for the mysterious crop. They would say “420-Louis” as the code to schedule a meeting, eventually dropping the “Louis” and using the term “420” to describe anything marijuana related. The group probably never thought their code would be used for all marijuana users all over the world many years later.

Grateful Dead

Grateful Dead

Members of the famous Grateful Dead band were friends of the parents of the Waldo’s. The Waldo’s would eventually start hanging out outside of the band’s rehearsal space, smoking and listening to the band practice. The Waldo’s started using “420” around the band, and it eventually caught on with them. The band spread it at their shows and parties, helping cement “420” as part of American counterculture.

High Times Magazine

High Times eventually picked up the term in the early 90s and published it throughout their magazine, helping solidify the “420” term globally.


“It’s 4:20 Somewhere”

Now you can tell all your friends at the next social gathering what “420” actually is and where it originates. If you would like to talk more about 420 or if you have any questions on cannabis packaging, then let’s have a conversation.