April 20, known in recreational cannabis culture as 420 Day has become a date for world-wide protest and celebration. But where does the terminology arise from for this “counter-culture day” that has turned into a global celebration for cannabis.
According to Wikiedia: The story goes that in n 1971, five high school students in San Rafael, California, used the term “4:20” in connection with a plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop, based on a treasure map made by the grower. Calling themselves the Waldos,because their typical hang-out spot “was a wall outside the school”, the five students — Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich —designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 pm as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. After several failed attempts to find the crop, the group eventually shortened their phrase to “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a code-word the teens used to refer to consuming cannabis.
Steven Hager of High Times was responsible for popularizing the story of the Waldos. The first High Times mention of 4:20 smoking and a 4/20 holiday appeared in May 1991, and the connection to the Waldos appeared in December 1998. Hager attributed the early spread of the phrase to Grateful Dead followers – after “Waldo” Reddix became a roadie for the Grateful Dead‘s bassist, Phil Lesh – and called for 4:20 pm to be the socially accepted time of the day to consume cannabis.