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What is 420?
What is 420?

What is 420?

A History of the Cannabis Holiday

We’re already into the month of April (crazy, right?!), which means we’re only a couple of weeks from every stoners favorite cannabis themed holiday, 420.

But what IS 420 exactly? And how did April 20th become synonymous with all day smoke sessions?

Let’s take a look at how 4/20 became the national holiday for cannabis culture.

Highway sign for Exit 420.

The Theories Behind 420

Over the years there have been a lot of rumors, tall tales or even just hazy recollections of how the number become connected to marijuana.

It seems like everyone knows that 4:20 means it is time to light up, but why seems to be an ongoing debate.

But is it really still up for debate?

These are the most popular theories about the origins of 420…

Outrageous 420 Day Theories

Let’s get the least likely and downright absurd out of the way first.

  • Number of Chemicals in Cannabis – This one has been proven false as studies show there are more than 500 chemicals in many strains
  • Bob Marley – Some claim that it relates to his birth or death, but since those fall in February and May respectively, the math just doesn’t add up.
  • Penal Code – There used to be speculation that the number referred to the code that police would use for pot related arrests… that radio code however is for homicide
  • A Dictator’s Birthday – Yes, April 20th is Hitler’s birthday, but how would that have anything to do with cannabis? It wouldn’t.

With those out of the way, let’s get into the more likely origins of the term.

Potential Musical Roots

Some astute stoner once noticed that if you multiply the number 12 and 35 (from the song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35) it equals 420. It would be very convenient for the connection to be born by Bob Dylan, it is unlikely. We’d chalk this one up to a happy coincidence.

A pair of headphones with a cannabis nug next to them.

The more likely musical connection is through the Grateful Dead and a member of the “Waldos” from San Rafael, California.

Started by High Schoolers

So who are the “Waldos” exactly?

The legend goes that in the 1970s a group of high schoolers in San Rafael, CA would meet every day at 4:20pm to smoke cannabis by a nearby wall. This number “420” became code for their hush hush meet ups.

In this group of pot pioneers was Dave Reddix, who went on to work as a roadie for the Grateful Dead. From there, the band helped popularize the term which grew it into the time AND date that we all know so well.

How “Weed Day” Has Become a Commercial Event

So what took 4/20 from a secretive “holiday” into the large scale commercial event it has become?

The most obvious answer is the law. As more states have legalized cannabis, they day receives more national coverage.

With everyone looking to smoke out, dispensaries have helped mold it into one of their busiest days of the year. And people are often willing to splurge for some high quality bud when it’s for a celebration.

Inspecting some high quality cannabis in a glass jar.

Plus, cannabis enjoyment is truly community oriented and live events, such as the Cannabis Cup, have only increase awareness.

420 Deals and Ways to Celebrate

We know that everyone wants to be ready to celebrate ON April 20th and not scrambling day of. That’s why we start our 420 deals ahead of time to ensure that you’ve received your vaporizer in time.

Check out our 420 deals and save big on Boundless products for the whole month!

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