Vams Culture

The History of 420

Photo credit: CannabisTutorials


On this day where many spirits are lifted, let’s slow things down (pun intended) and get to know how this day came to be. Many people have come up with their own conclusions about how 420 came to be--anything ranging from it being a police code for “Marijuana Smoking in Progress” to a date associated with Bob Marley. However, believe it or not, the significance of the day is widely believed to have originated from a group of high schoolers from San Rafael, California.

The group of high school boys, named The Waldo’s, got word of a hidden cannabis crop near the San Reyes peninsula and naturally, they were curious and wanted to find this hidden treasure. The Waldo’s agreed to meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 and used the code name “420-Louis” each time they would meet. Appropriately, The Waldo’s would light a spliff before each trip. As time went on, “420-Louis” just became “420” and would be used in reference to anything weed related by The Waldo’s. Little did they know, this was the start to the infamous term that would be used worldwide, and a joyous day for all cannabis smokers.


The Waldo’s had inside connections to a band called The Grateful Dead, who caught on to the 420 term and took it over the edge to gain more popularity. The Waldo’s would often hang out with the band and be at their rehearsals smoking weed. The high schoolers would also be invited to the band’s parties where they took the opportunity to share the term with the crowd. The band ultimately helped solidified the term. Later in the 1990s, the High Times picked up the term and published it in their magazine. From there, “420” went global and continues to be used within counterculture.

Now that you know how the day and term came to be, sit back, relax, and light up a big one. This one’s for The Waldo’s.



Tags: 420, Toronto, weed

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