420 Magazine Background

420... fact and fiction

Captain Kronic

Member of the Month: July 2011
I have been wondering about the origin of the term 420 as it applies to getting high, taking meds... whatever you want to call it!
I set out to find out for myself that it was nothing to do a police code for people smoking pot... I wanted to know the truth!

I am sure their are others here that also do not know the true origin of one of our fav terms... here is what I found!

Known Myths

* Myth: Police dispatch code for smoking pot is 420.

Fact: The number 420 is not police radio code for anything, anywhere. Checks of criminal codes suggest that the origin is neither Californian nor federal. For instance, California Penal Code 420 defines as a misdemeanor the hindrance of use of public lands.
* Myth: There are approximately 420 active chemicals in marijuana.

Fact: There are approximately 315 active chemicals in marijuana. This number goes up and down depending on which plant is used.
* Myth: April 20th is National Pot Smokers Day.

Fact: Well, it is now; but that wasn't the origin.

* Myth: 4:20 is tea time for pot-smokers in Holland.

Fact: Tea time in Holland is at 5:30 pm, or is it 2:30 pm? Seems no one is quite sure when the wonderful people of Holland drink their tea.

The Origin Revealed

According to Steven Hager, the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971, among a group of about a dozen pot-smoking wiseacres who called themselves the Waldos, who are now pushing 50. The term was shorthand for the time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis Pasteur, to smoke pot. Intent on developing their own discreet language, they made 420 code for a time to get high, and its use spread among members of an entire generation. While our teens feel that they know something we don't, you can let them in on the fact that it was your generation that came up with the numbers.

A quote from one of the Waldos in the High Times article states, "We did discover we could talk about getting high in front of our parents without them knowing by using the phrase 420." Fortunately, your teenagers will not have that same option.


Simply put, 420 is a symbol of cannabis and its culture. Today, April 20th events are international and 4:20 pm has become sort of a world wide "burn time".

I'm really glad to have found this... I would not have been able to support anything w/this label had I not found most of the stories to be myth! :yummy:
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Matanuska Valley

Plant of the Year: 2011 - Member of the Month: April 2011 - Plant of the Month: Mar & April 2011
Fact: That was cool, I just turn 50... :hmmmm:
Fact: the facts in this story are true... :welldone:
Fact: Steven Hager, editor of High Times, you can kiss my ass... :19:

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