What Does 420 Mean? The Origins of 420

What Does 420 Mean?

What does 420 mean? Chances are, you’ve probably heard this term used online or in cannabis related conversations. For a very long time, the 420 phrase has been connected to the idea of weed and hashish, but a lot of people don’t understand it, nor do they identify what it means. We are here to give you an explanation of what does 420 mean and why it has become such an important aspect in today’s day and age.


Dig in to the History: The origins of “420”

The thing we need to keep in mind is that the origins of 420 are way back in 1971. At that time, 5 high school students from the San Rafael in California started using this term. 420 was, at that time, used as 4:20 and the idea behind it was to create a plan and search an abandoned cannabis crop. The grower left a treasure map, so their focus was to try and uncover that crop and see what happened to it and if it’s still usable in any way. The group of friends was called “The Waldos”, mainly because their hangout spot was at a wall outside of their school. They chose the Louis Pasteur Statue at their high school as the meeting place, and 4:20 PM was the meeting time for them. They actually named their meetings 4:20 Louis, in a clever way to add the meeting place as well.

While The Waldos tried quite a lot to find the hidden crop, they were not successful. However, some people learned about their 4:20 term and the meetings they had, and the story ended up in front o Steven Hager from High Times. He was the one that showcased the story of the Waldos, with the first mention of 4:20 being in May 1991, and he eventually connected that to the Waldos in December 1998.

Apparently the early spread of 4:20 was from Grateful Dead, when their bassist started to consume cannabis around 4:20 PM. Since then, 420 has become a keyword related to the consumption of cannabis, and it’s mostly used between teens.


Some people believe that Bob Dylan also has to do something with 420

Bob Dylan has a song named Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. If you multiply the two numbers, then this equals 420. When people realized that, they immediately connected him to the 420 movement. One thing to keep in mind, the song was recorded in 1966, and that was long before the Waldos and the 420 movement coming into play. While there’s no real connection to Bob Dylan and the kids that started this movement, it’s still interesting to see a small coincidence. Or maybe it’s not, no one can really tell.

You may like to connect with Bob Dylan: Facebook/ Youtube/ Wikipedia


Myths related to 420 and cannabis

There are some myths roaming around that 420 actually comes from cannabis, more specifically the number of chemical compounds in it. Researchers are continually changing the number of compounds found in cannabis, and the number fluctuates from 300 to 400 or more. It might very well be 420, but clearly there’s no specific evidence to back that up. While it’s great to see 420 connected to the active compounds in Marijuana, no one really knows exactly how many compounds are there, as it tends to fluctuate. Yet having this connection does make a lot of sense, and it’s certainly something to keep in mind all the time.

There are also myths related to the police and congress. Some say that the code 420 is used for someone that’s consuming cannabis. However, the police is not using this type of code for cannabis cases, instead the code is used for homicide. There’s a bill in the Senate with the number 420, however this is for the cannabis culture staple, it’s not due to it. This bill was pivotal for the birth of Medical Marijuana in California, so it definitely has its own merits.


April 20: The international day of Cannabis

As per information available on wiki, we can clearly have idea about it, “April 20 has become an international counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis“. Check out full article with wikipedia, which will clearly give you an idea about cannabis culture around the globe.

cannabis day

As time went by, 420 became very significant and now April 20th (or 4/20), is the international day of cannabis where people gather and consume cannabis. It’s an international counterculture holiday to begin with, and one that continues to stand out in the cannabis community. Pro-cannabis events are taking place all over the world on 4/20, and the idea is to advocate the legalization and liberalization of cannabis.

In some places, this has already happened, but in other countries there are still challenges related to this topic. The Hempfest in Seattle takes place on 4/20, and it’s half a call to action and half celebration. People are aware of the importance of cannabis, and these protests and celebrations taking place on this date are extremely important.

During this day, a lot of marijuana users are protesting in civil disobedience. What they are doing is they are gathering in public and start smoking weed at 4:20. This pays a homage to the Waldos, while still showing how significant 420 has become in the world of cannabis as a whole. It’s important to understand the roots, but also where the entire idea went and how crucial 420 is in the marijuana community. It’s become a signal of independence, support and connectivity between people that are a part of the community to begin with.


Is 420 used by teens?

Although 420 has been around for a long time and it’s an old phrase, the truth is that the younger marijuana community is using it as it relates to weed and connecting with each other to smoke. Social media is playing a major role when it comes to promoting marijuana consumption, especially through groups that are establishing offline meetings on Facebook or Instagram at 4:20 PM. Even if the people that started this are not in the spotlight anymore, the truth is that now the younger generation is using the phrase in direct connection with marijuana related activities.

There are some problems too. Social media tends to glorify drug use, mostly due to groups that are pro-marijuana without showing whether there are any downsides for kids or teens in general. Teens can easily start getting into it because they believe everyone is doing it, since it’s on social media. The truth is that Marijuana has become more and more important, and it continues to stand out as a very important aspect to think about. Yet proper, adequate marijuana use can also be rather beneficial.

That’s why we need more educational content, especially on social media. This content can relate to the 420 phrase, so it can catch some eyes and show the good and bad things of consuming marijuana. It will take some time, but proper initiatives are already in place to make that happen.


Are adults still using this phrase?

While teens are the ones that use it the most, the truth is that adults also talk about what does 420 mean and the benefits or downsides related to it. Yes, those that were young when 420 became a thing are still talking about it. Some even have those 4:20 PM meetings to reminisce about the idea of consuming medical marijuana and the benefits this brings to their lives to begin with. It’s important to realize that 420 isn’t just something teens and young adults are talking about. Instead, adults are still using this phrase, as it’s extremely important for some of them.


Will 420 continue to be important to the cannabis community?

420 is a phrase that has been around for decades. It’s deeply embedded into our mind as something related to freedom, the ability to consume weed without limitations. That’s why the phrase continues to exist, because it encourages people to continue talking about weed and even consume it without being restricted. It’s clearly connected to the freedom of speech and the fact that people shouldn’t be restricted from doing the things they want.

That’s the main reason why 420 continues to be widely used especially in the weed-consuming community. The fact that there are so many events taking place on 4/20 is a clear sign that the community uses 420 as a sign of freedom, growth and focus on the best things that can arise. It shows that yes, nothing is impossible, and results can be extraordinary in the long run.



Once you learn what does 420 mean, it’s important to pay homage to those that started this phrase. At the same time, it’s amazing to see how people continue to latch on to such an idea, showing that nothing is impossible and you can indeed achieve a lot of things if you stick together and maintain a true focus on great results.

It’s extraordinary to see the journey of the 420 phrase and how it has managed to influence so many people. It’s a clear sign of the importance that it has, but also the fact that the community is growing quite a bit, and the newer generation continues to celebrate marijuana, while still appreciating the past and notions like 420 that came well before them!

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