False. However, the California Senate Bill 420, also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act, was named as a nod to the 420 tradition. Signed in 2004, it comes years after the existing pop culture connection.
False. While it’s often been purported that 420 somehow commemorates the death of one of these musical greats who were identified with drug use during their lifetimes, none of them actually passed on April 20. Hendrix died on September 18, Morrison on July 3, Joplin on October 4, and Marley on May 11.
April 20 is here and there’s no doubt about how observers of 4/20 will be celebrating the holiday. Weed will be the recreation facilitator of choice, and in addition to lighting up, many marijuana enthusiasts will gather for marches and rallies to push for legalization. But, how did 4/20 start? While how to partake is clear, the origin of 420 вЂ” as National Weed Day and as a number that declares one’s propensity to puff-puff-pass вЂ” is a bit more cloudy. “420” first entered into drug parlance years ago, becoming the codeword of potheads and a signifier of “cannabis culture” used throughout pop culture. Most of the clocks in the cult classic Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20, and the scoreboard in Dazed and Confused reads 42 to 0. Though the number’s use has become more commonplace вЂ” as marijuana use becomes more widely accepted and also legalized вЂ” its beginnings have long been disputed. How exactly did this particular date and time become so engraved in the common identity of pot lovers the world over and why are its origins such a mystery?
False. Section 420 of the California penal code actually refers to obstructing entry on public land. The 420 sections of penal codes of other states also have nothing to do with marijuana.
While April 20 is indeed the date that Hitler was born, that certainly isn’t where the tradition comes from.
The true origin of 420 starts much like the beginning of every pot lover’s marijuana story вЂ” killing time with friends after school. Various sources, including Wikipedia, Snopes, and even the BBC, agree that 420 was first coined by a group of students at San Rafael High School in the early 1970s. The pack of pot-lovers called themselves “the Waldos” because they liked hanging out in front of a wall, and used the codeword “420” to communicate with each other when and where to meet to smoke pot вЂ” “420 Louis!” meant meeting up at 4:20, after school was out and sports practices completed, in front of the school’s statue of 19th-century French scientist Louis Pasteur.
False. While this would be fitting (but not entirely undercover), 420 is not the radio code for marijuana violations of any kind.
While this is true (as evidence by his lab notes), most argue that this wasn’t the source of “420” but instead a crazy coincidence.
The math is correct, and Dylan’s song does have the refrain “everybody must get stoned,” but most deny that this is the real origin.
April 20 is here and there’s no doubt about how observers of 4/20 will be celebrating the holiday. Weed will be the recreation facilitator of choice, and in addition to lighting up, many marijuana enthusiasts will gather for marches and rallies toвЂ¦
As it turns out, there are countless theories out there as to why вЂњWeed DayвЂќ falls on April 20 every year. Inverse has rounded up some of the best of these, along with one thatвЂ™s probably the real deal.
Legend has it that 4/20 refers to CaliforniaвЂ™s criminal code that once outlawed the sale and distribution of the recreational drug. But even before it became a cannabis haven, CaliforniaвЂ™s 420 state code actually referred to to obstructing entry on public land.
No, it’s not Bob Marley’s birthday.
This theory has been straight debunked, thanks to science. Studies have shown that many marijuana strains contain more than 500 compounds, depending on the strain.
Another interesting theory is this mathematical reference in one of Bob DylanвЂ™s songs. вЂњRainy Day Women #12 & 35вЂќ from the croonerвЂ™s 1966 album Blonde on Blonde, in which listeners are meant to do some multiplication to arrive at вЂњ420.вЂќ Yes, 12 times 35 does equal 420, and the song does contain the lyrics, вЂњEverybody must get stoned.вЂќ
Subsequently, the group used the term вЂњ420вЂќ to reference any time they wanted to get high from grade school onwards. The code remained used on the hush for the next decade or so until the group began hanging backstage at Grateful Dead concerts вЂ” apparently, ReddixвЂ™s older brother was a pal of bassist Phil Lesh. The band and their crew picked up the colloquialism, and the story also goes that during late 80вЂ™s gigs, вЂњ420вЂќ flyers describing the code as a weed culture password of sorts began to circulate among show-goers. This is also where the confusion between the WaldosвЂ™ 420 code and the California penal code theories is said to originate from, as the flyers apparently dictated that 420 was also police code for smoking marijuana.
Practically every lover (and non-lover) of marijuana knows that April 20 is an international holiday to indulge in the drug. However, if asked what the origin of 4/20 is, itвЂ™s unlikely most would know the holidayвЂ™s purported origin story вЂ” in part because there are a few.
Despite this theory being logically disproved over and over again, many believe 4/20 refers to either the life or death of reggae artist and weed culture icon Bob Marley. In fact, while Marley may have celebrated 4/20 himself, he was born on February 6, 1945. The late musician died on May 11, 1981, quite a few weeks after April 20, so this theory is most definitely out.
Perhaps the most well-known and most plausible 4/20 theory, the вЂњWaldosвЂќ legend is based on a group of 1970s California students at San Rafael High School. Naming themselves after the term coined by Buddy Hackett, which describes вЂњodd people,вЂќ the teen clique concocted a tradition of meeting at 4:20 p.m. to smoke after school. Their website states that this particular time was a perfect way to remember the pre-scheduled ritual.
No, it’s not Bob Marley’s birthday.