What is the Meaning Behind 420

What is the Meaning Behind 420

This topic has been so popular over the past few years that sometimes it’s as the hype of this famous day has surpassed even the great Easter holiday! And of course naturally, as the time goes on, the true story of what really happened with any story somehow gets distorted and ends up slightly or completely different from what actually happened.

This is due to unexplained rumors, and people just over “generalizing” the details. With that being said, I’m going to do my best to get you through all those false claims and tell you what it really represents. So what is the meaning behind 420?

Current Theories

I’m sure you’ve heard of all the different stories about what it means and where it came from. The truth is there are millions of cannabis users who have no clue what the meaning is or where it originally came from. We all just “know” it has something to do with weed.

That’s why depending on who you talk to, you’ll likely get different answers. Some people believe that 420 is linked to cannabis because that’s the number of active chemicals in marijuana. Others believe that 420 linked to cannabis because Adolf Hitler used to smoke marijuana, and his birthday is April 20th. Or maybe that it was a secret police code that meant the cops were looking for pot smokers.

And while all these theories may not sound so far off, I’m here to tell you that these are all false and ironically it’s just a coincidence that these myths of origin align perfectly with this iconic date.

Real Story

The only story that actually makes sense, is the one told by the Waldos. It all started with 5 students at San Rafael High School…

These students would always hang out at the same spot all the time which is how they got the nickname “Waldos” in the first place. They had gotten wind that a Coast Guard official had planted a marijuana crop and couldn’t take care of it anymore.

After somehow getting a roadmap to the cannabis plant, they knew it was located somewhere in the Point Reyes Forest. They would meet up every day after practice since they were all athletes at the Louis Pasteur statue, which is how they got the name “Waldos” in the first place.

And of course, once they met up, they would hop in the car, smoke, and then begin that long journey to finding the luxurious plant. Sadly enough, they never found it.


Now you’re probably wondering, how did a slang word between 5 students spread globally within so many years? Well, there’s a little more to the meaning other than a meetup time. You see, because weed was illegal back then and punishments were twice as worse as they are today, they would also use it as a way to communicate with each other in public, whether it be in front of their teachers in class, in the hallways, or even at home in front of their parents, and no one really ever knew that they were talking about smoking.

Another way, and probably the most responsible for its widespread growth around the world, is that these students would gather up often and go see a band called the “Grateful Dead” and from there, as the code word started to spread around throughout the people at the shows the band started using it in songs, which then lead to anyone who had ever head their music to know what the term meant eventually. You even started to see it in movies like “Pulp Fiction” years later.