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The History of 420 by Strains Dispensary Perris, CA

420, commonly stated as four-twenty, is synonymous with cannabis culture, yet few cannabis enthusiasts know the detailed history of this term. At Strains Dispensary Perris, CA, we dug deep into the corners of cannabis culture history to detail the significance of this term, how it started, and how it has grown.

The 1970’s 420 Spark

The story of 420 begins in San Rafael, CA in 1971, just a few years after the summer of love. Five high school students calling themselves the Waldos found a map produced by a cannabis grower that detailed an abandoned cannabis crop. These stoners wanted to use the treasure map to secure a lifetime supply of cannabis. To keep the plan a secret, they initially used the phrase “420 Louis” as code for their daily meeting at 4:20 pm at a Louis Pasteur statue. After several attempts to locate the abandoned cannabis crop, they shorted the term to 420 as code to smoke cannabis.

The 1980’s Grateful Dead-420 Connection

Dave Reddix, one of the five Waldos, became a roadie for the Grateful Dead. He naturally relied on his former use of 4:20 to be the band’s socially accepted time to smoke cannabis. Given the Grateful Dead’s influence on the hippy drug-culture movement, it was just a matter of time before the phrase grew to represent the cannabis culture itself.

High Times Popularized 420 in the 1990s

You might be wondering – how did a coded phrase used by five high schoolers and amplified by the Grateful Dead’s hippie movement grow into a cultural phenomenon? High Times magazine published Waldos’ story in May of 1991. The widespread reading of High Times magazine popularized the phrase for nearly all American teens that smoked cannabis. 4:20 was now a common code that teens used for smoking cannabis.

420 Today & Beyond

Nearly everyone today understands that 420 represents consuming cannabis as cannabis culture’s hallmark jargon. April 20th, shortened as 04/20, is now a counterculture holiday celebrated by people gathering to celebrate and consume cannabis. Cannabis enthusiasts often choose to get married on 04/20. Political movements have also determined that day to advocate the legalization of cannabis. Given the history, uptake, and trajectory of 420 culture with cannabis increasingly mainstream today, it’s plausible that cannabis consumption will soon be as American as apple pie and baseball.

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