Get the Latest News Updates

Why is 4/20 “Weed Day” and how did it get started?

Since the 1970s, April 20 has been celebrated as “Weed Day” or “4/20” by people who use marijuana all over the United States.

People who like marijuana get together to enjoy this day, both in states where it is legal to use marijuana for fun and in states where it is not. Some of them try to get the plant taken out of the criminal code and made legal.

People get together every year in different places across the country, like Washington Square Park in Manhattan and “Hippie Hill” in Golden Gate Park in California.

What does April 20 mean?
There are many theories about where the name “420” came from and how it came to be associated with marijuana use. One of the most common ideas is that 420 was the police code for marijuana, but this has never been proven. It was also said that it was against the law in California to have or use marijuana. Some people say that “Everyone must get stoned” from Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” is where “420” came from, since 12 times 35 is 420.

Even though there are many ideas, no one seems to know for sure how April 20 became Weed Day, but the most likely explanation goes back to California in the 1970s.

Steven Hager, a former editor at the weed-focused magazine High Times, says that April 20 started with five teens from San Rafael High School who got together every day at 4:20. They waited until most of the school’s after-school events were over for the day before smoking weed near the statue of the chemist Louis Pasteur. Students Steve Capper, Jeffrey Noel, Dave Reddix, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich were called “The Waldos” because they hung out near a wall near a figure and used the code 4/20 to let each other know it was time to smoke.

Reddix said that they were tired of all the jocks at Friday night football, so they would sit under the stands and smoke a joint while thinking what they were doing there.

Reddix’s brother helped him get a job as a roadie for Phil Lesh, the bassist for the Grateful Dead. The band is said to have helped make the term “420” more well-known. In Oakland, California, in 1990, Grateful Dead fans called “Deadheads” passed out flyers telling people to “smoke 420” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m. After getting it a year later, Steve Bloom, who used to work for High Times, put a copy of the 420 flyers in the magazine. High Times said in 1998 that “The Waldos” came up with the name “420.”