420: The Origin of Pot Culture

The myth and legend behind the term 420 has been a mystery for a long time. If you smoke marijuana, or even if you don’t— chances are, the term 420 is familiar to you as a way of referencing marijuana, smoking, and the likes. Most people are under the impression that this term came from a police code, but in this case, most people are wrong. So where did this come from? What began the not-so-secret code that has come to be a pot holiday and sentiment worldwide.

Where it all began…

 

The story begins with a group of California teens in the early ’70s. “The Waldos” had heard a story of lost treasure— a legendary lost marijuana crop that resides close to the nearby Point Reyes Coast Guard Station. The Waldos has an obsession, and a pretty strong drive to find that fabled crop (for obvious reasons). So, what did they do? They made a plan to go out and find it… Is it just me, or are you itching for the movie version of this, too?

 The story spread of a Coast Guard member who was forced to abandon his crop, and when one of the Waldos got their hands on a map, the opportunity became too sweet to pass up. So, they made an agreement: Meet every day at 4:20 in the afternoon, smoke a little for inspiration and good luck, then, go seach for that sweet, undiscovered crop of beautiful buds…

They never did find the crop. But, it was not for lack of trying— the Waldos spent time and time on end scouring that plot of federal property in search of their pot of gold. But soon enough, 4:20 became a term they used quite frequently. A code, if you will, to signify their journey (and also a plan for later in the day).

The term was existent only within their sphere only until one of the Waldo’s brothers shared it with a good friend, who happened to be Phil Lesh. If you don’t know: Phil Lesh is the bassist for the Grateful Dead. After hearing the term, he shared it with his band mates. Then, together, the Grateful Dead catapulted the term to fame, and into what some consider a national holiday of sorts. 

Many believe a number of false claims, one of the most popular being that 420 is police code for marijuana possession. Just a heads up: it’s not. It might be difficult to believe that a group of pot-treasure hungry California kids are the masterminds behind the great celebration. But, to the Waldos it’s a story and a pastime they can still celebrate (at least) once every year…