It’s April 20! So what the hell does that mean?
Well, it’s 4/20, aka National Pot Smoking Day (not, in fact, a recognized national holiday). So from where did that designation derive?
There are lots of theories: It’s Jerry Garcia’s birthday! (It’s not; he was born on August 1, 1942.) It’s California penal code for a marijuana bust! (Nope—a 420 is obstructing entry onto public land.) It’s the best time of day to get high! (This is debatable.)
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But the explanation is more esoteric than its celebrants might understand.
According to numerous reports, “420” (pronounced four-twenty, rather than four hundred twenty), represents the time of day—4:20 p.m.—that a group of high school students in San Rafael, California, in 1971, would get together to light up a joint. This developed into a secret vernacular shared by the group—know by their peers as The Waldos—which eventually spread. It grew organically (through, ahem, grassroots channels, if you will).
And today, the numbers have come to represent marijuana, in all its many forms.