Skip to main content
WARNING: Vaping products contain nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. - Health Canada
The Story behind "420" and how it became "Weed Day"

The Story behind "420" and how it became "Weed Day"

Posted by Smoke Arsenal on Jun 3rd 2022

Since, 4/20 is just ‘round the corner, let's dive deep into the hazy history of how this day came into being. There are a lot of legends when it comes to the history of "420". Some say it’s the number of chemicals in marijuana, some say it’s the day Adolf Hitler was born i.e. April 20th, 1889 or some believe it could be Bob Dylan’s lyrics from “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35”, when you multiply 12 by 35 it equals 420.

You’ll find it interesting to know, none of that led to the origin of 420 but it was started by a group of five California teens who used to hangout outside their school and called themselves “the Waldos”.

Source: Business Wire

So here is how the story goes - These five teens learned about a coast guard member who planted a marijuana plant and then forgot to tend to it. The group would meet at the Louis Pasteur statue which was located outside their school to find the abandoned cannabis plant. Their meeting time was always 04:20 PM after school. They would meet, smoke pot inside their car and then get on with searching the herb. One of the original members of “the Waldos” recalls, they would remind each other in the hallways of their high school by mentioning, “meeting at 4:20”. It originally was 4:20-Louis, but later they dropped the Louis. It was their way to talk about it without their parents or teachers knowing and this is how the term 420 was coined. Nothing fancy, just a group of teens trying to find a free bud.

But how did this term was spread throughout the States, which was coined by a bunch of teens? The Waldos had many connections with the band named Grateful Dead. They would hang out with the band backstage and use phrases like “hey 420”, which meant basically was in reference to smoking pot. So, that’s how it started spreading throughout the community.

Steven bloom was the catalyst in spreading the world globally. How? Well, he was a reporter for “High Times” and one fine night around Christmas he was wandering through street among hippies who would gather around before any Grateful Dead concert, that’s when a “deadhead” gave him a flyer which said, “We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais.” Bloom forwarded that flyer to the Huffington Post and that’s how the magazine helped launch the word globally.

I am pretty sure there must be many theories and rumors regarding the birth of term 420, and we would love to know all about it. Leave the stories that you believe in the comments below.