Why is April 20 observed around the country as the national day of pot consumption? The origins of why this is considered weed day is still a little unclear, but there are many myths and legends that people have made up along the way.
Here are the legends behind 4/20's origins.
420 is a code used by police.
Police using 420 as code for cannabis seems legit, but this isn’t actually true. There is no police code called 420 to represent weed but there is a 420 cop code for “juvenile disturbance” used by the San Francisco Police Department.
420 is a penal code used in California.
This one also seems pretty legit. According to legend, 420 was the number of a penal code used in California used to discipline those caught using or selling weed. This is not true, 420 is actually a code in California that represents obstructing entry on public land.
April 20 is the best date to plant cannabis.
Weather varies from state to state, and people now have technology that allows them to grow weed indoors, so this isn’t true.
There are 420 chemical compounds in marijuana.
Wrong! There are actually 483 chemical compounds in cannabis according to Cannabis and Cannabinoids: Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutic Potential stat.
Bob Dylan had a hidden 420 equation in one of his hit songs.
This one isn’t false but it definitely is a stretch. In one of Dylan’s songs Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35, Dylan repeats “Everybody must get stoned,” and if you multiply 35 times 12, you get 420. But this isn’t why 420 got its fame.
420 and the Waldos.
The most realistic legend on how 420 became weed day is the story of The Waldos. The Waldos were a group of high school stoners, who in the early 1970s would get together by a wall and smoke pot at 4:20 p.m. This hour was perfect for them because they were out of school and their parents still weren’t home.
420 also became a code for the Waldos, using it to ask each about their weed supply, and even if they looked stoned in the halls at school. The code eventually spread among Grateful Dead fans who used the code the same way the Waldos did. Fast forward to today, 420 is attached to everything from weed-themed merch to April 20, which is known among stoners around the United States, and abroad, as Weed Day. With weed's legalization in many states around the country, 420 pop culture appeal won’t be slowing down anytime soon.