420 - what does this mean?
Hemp enthusiasts, especially those who enjoy smoking marijuana, or so-called stoners, have undoubtedly come across the term 420. This is a slang symbol in the culture associated with hemp, popularized in the 1970s in the United States. What exactly does 420 mean, where did this term come from, what is its original history, and what are the popular facts and myths about 420? You will learn all about this from this article!
Table of Contents
Where did 420 come from?
The symbol 420 refers to the time, as well as the date, but to understand it well, you need to know the rules for writing hours and dates in the USA, because this is where this term comes from. The American date format is such that the month is given first, then the day of the month, so the date 4/20 will mean April 20th. In the case of hours, there is a division into those before and after noon, where 4:20 PM will be our 16:20, and 4:20 AM is a time that certainly no one would like to be woken up at.
What is 420?
So the mysterious slogan 420 is really about the time of consumption of hemp. It refers to the time 4:20 (i.e., in Poland 16:20), which became famous in the USA, and then all over the world, as the time for smoking marijuana. In most cases, 420 refers to the act of smoking, but as other forms of consuming hemp become more popular, this slogan may also refer to vaporizing or eating snacks with the addition of THC. This hour has become somewhat a symbol of hemp, its most popular slogan, and has taken root so strongly that April 20 (4/20) has become an international day of smoking marijuana, a holiday for all hemp enthusiasts, celebrated all over the world. The 420 holiday is also a time to express views on legalization, decriminalization, and the fight for the rights of medical marijuana patients.
History of the 420 holiday
How did it happen that 4:20 became popular as a time for smoking hemp? The beginning of this story concerns a very prosaic event from the life of a group of friends from San Rafael, California, and dates back to 1971. Back then teenagers calling themselves The Waldos, encouraged by the story of a friend and the treasure map he received from him, decided to look for the lost cannabis field in the forest thicket.
The expedition was to start at the statue of Louis Pasteur exactly at 4:20. That day The Waldos failed to find the treasure, but the trip and the search for the mythical herb was so much fun for them that they decided to organize their trips regularly, and the sign to set off on another journey was the slogan “420 Louie”. It is not difficult to guess that each of the trips started with the consumption of cannabis. Over time, this slogan was shortened by them to just “420” and became a synonym for “time for a joint”. The slogan quickly spread among teenagers, hippies, and musicians from the band The Grateful Dead, who knew the group The Waldos. In those days it was a well-known hippie band, and at one of their concerts the journalist of the magazine High Times – Steven Bloom learned about the slogan. He described the slogan and its interesting concept infecting the whole USA with it. Then the slogan spread like wildfire among cannabis supporters around the world.
Facts and myths about 420
There are a lot of myths about the real origin of the slogan 420. Some of them are complete lies, others are based on real events, but they do not come from the original, confirmed by witnesses history about the creation of 420. One of the most popular myths is the theory that cannabis supposedly contains 420 active substances. Scientists already know that this is not true, there are more than 500 of these substances. Another popular myth is the theory about the police code for crimes related to possession or smuggling of marijuana. As misguided as the previous one. There are also supporters of the theory that 4:20 in the Netherlands is the so-called “tea time”, i.e., time for tea. Others associate 420 with the anniversary of Bob Marley’s death (May 11, 1981). These theories have little in common with the truth and the number 420 itself.
Trivia about 420
An interesting and quite controversial myth is the alleged connection of the number 420 with Hitler’s birthday, who was actually born on April 20, but this connection has absolutely nothing to do with celebrating marijuana. Another one not true, but with some connotation, concerns the consumption of the first dose of LSD in history. Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist who synthesized the first batch of LSD on April 19, 1943, at 4:20, applied 250 micrograms of lysergic acid diethylamide to himself, which is called the “first trip”. Apart from the time 4:20, however, it has nothing to do with cannabis, although it is an interesting curiosity.
The number 420 has become quite an inspiration for many people, not just cannabis lovers. Many artists or creators use this symbol as a synonym for consuming marijuana in their works. There are also plenty of references to 420 in films, for example in the already iconic film Pulp Fiction, the clocks show 4:20. Hotel owners often notice increased interest in a room with this number, some even decide to skip it in the numbering so as not to encourage cannabis fans too much.