Peace, love and unity


Peace, love and unity

   Origins of Fourtwenty/420 Day

Where did it all begin ? Why 420 ? Origins ? - 


Anyone, who considers himself, or herself, to know about the drug subculture, has not necessarily heard, that '420' has something to do with using marijuana. Those who have heard of 420, when asked, often don't seem to know why, or what the term signifies.

One of the most popular origin theories, is that 420, is the police radio or criminal code 'call', in certain parts of California - Los Angeles or San Francisco - for having spotted someone consuming cannabis publicly, with the police call, " Pot smoking in progress," and that local cannabis users picked up on the code and began celebrating the number especially at 4:20am, 4.20pm and April 20th. 

Most, however, insist that 420 is not police radio code for anything, anywhere. Checks of criminal codes and the federal penal code across the State of California, do not bear out the story. Californian Penal Code 420 defines as a misdemeanor, the hindrance of use of public lands, and California Family Code defines what constitutes a wedding ceremony. One state that does come close is Illinois. The Illinois Department of Revenue classifies the Alcoholic Liquor Act under Part 420, and the Cannabis and Controlled Substances Tax Act are next, under Part 428.


The truth seems to be now agreed upon (or does it ?), that the term originated at San Rafael High

School, in 1971, among a group of about a dozen pot smoking students who called themselves

the 'Waldos.' The term '420', (always pronounced 'four-twenty,' never ' four hundred and twenty'),

was shorthand for the time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis Pasteur,

to smoke pot. Keep in mind this was not a general call to all cannabs users everywhere to toke up

at twenty past four every day; it was about 12 kids who'd made a date near a certain statue.


" Waldo Steve," a member of the group who now owns a business in San Francisco, says the Waldos would salute each other in the school hallway and say, " 420 Louis !"

The term was one of many invented by the group, but it was the one that caught on. " It was just a joke, but it came to mean all kinds of things, like ' Do you have any ?' or ' Do I look stoned ?" he said. " Parents and teachers wouldn't know what we were talking about."

The term took root, and flourished, and spread beyond San Rafael with the assistance of the Grateful Dead, formed in San Francisco in 1965, and their dedicated cohort of pot-using fans.

It was also rumoured to be, " the time that you should dose to be peaking when The Dead went on stage. "

420, also appeared on the Hemp 100 in High Times, which meant the expression spread farther and faster than ever.

The Waldos decided to assert their claim to the history of the term after decades of watching it spread, mutate, and be appropriated by commercial interests. The Waldos contacted Steve Hager, editor of High Times, and presented him with evidence of 420's history, primarily a collection of postmarked letters from the early 70's with lots of mentions of 420.

" We have proof we were the first, " Waldo Steve said. " I mean, it's not like we wrote a book or invented anything. We just came up with a phrase. But it's kind of an honour that this emanated from San Rafael." 

In 2002, the original Waldos reunited at the High Times Doobie Awards in New York City, to present a lifetime achievement award to their favourite band, 'New Riders of the Purple Sage', who reunited for a one night only performance of their classic marijuana anthem " Panama Red."

However, whatever you believe to be the real story, 420 has been an important part of the marijuana culture since the 1970's. The significance of 420 has been kept underground and is mostly known only among marijuana users. Many non-users aren't aware of the symbolism when they see someone wearing a T-shirt or baseball cap that says Fourtwenty / 420 across the front.

While some marijuana users are using 420 as a code that enables them to openly speak about marijuana in front of parents and teachers, 420 has been to some, a sacred symbol for nearly 30 years.

Fourtwenty / 420 is a symbol of cannabis and its culture. April 20th, is a kind of ' Hippy New Year ' or ' National Pot Smoking Day,' and we now have phrases such as " 420 friendly."






'Pulp Fiction,' is rumoured to have had all clocks throughout the film, set to 4:20.

This is a persistent myth. In the ' Bonnie situation', while Jimmy, Vince and Jules are drinking coffee in the kitchen, the clock clearly reads 8:15.

Secondly, when Vince and Jules go to retrieve the briefcase, it is " 7:22 in the a.m."

Thirdly, when Butch receives the watch it is set at 9:00.

However, ALL the clocks on the wall in the pawn shop, are set to 4:20.


Reefer Madness - is a 1936 propaganda film, that was intented to be shown to parents as a morality tale, attempting to teach them the dangers of cannabis abuse. The film never gained an audience until it was rediscovered in the 1970's and gained new life as an unintentional piece of comedy among cannabis users.

In 2004, 20th Century Fox, in collaboration with Legend Films, released a colourised version of the film on DVD. The original release date was April 20th, 2004 ( 4/20/2004 ), a reference to 420.

( see History - Time began. )


'Up in Smoke,' released in 1978, by Paramount pictures, featured Tommy Chong, of 'Cheech and Chong.' Myth has it, he was born on April 20th, at 4:20 am - sorry not right.

He was born at an unknown time, May 24th, 1938.


There have been '420' references on The Simpsons.

In the re-run episode aired on April 20th, 1999, Homer mentions to Flanders that Barney's birthday is April 20th.Also, the jackpot sign in one scene, says $420,000. Pretty concrete especially since they did decide to air that particular episode on April 20th, 1999.

In the episode 'Three Days of the Condo' when the family are attempting a huge jigsaw, Marge says 'It is getting late' and looks at a clock, which shows 4:20 as the time.( See Famous quotes. )

Shirts with the '420' red-and blue interstate highway shield, (interstate 420 ?), have shown up on the sitcom Will and Grace.

 The final score of the football game in the film, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, was 42-0.












Bob Dylan's famous ' Rainy Day Women - (hash !) # 12 & 35,' is a possible reference, or source - 12 x 35 = 420.

Bob performed the song live in 1987 with the Grateful Dead.( see Famous quotes.)

Dylan also mentions '4 and 20 windows' in 'The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest,' from the 1967 album, ' John Wesley Harding.'


Stephen Stills wrote, and Crosby, Stills and Nash performed a song ' 4 20 '- first recorded in 

1969 and released March 11th, 1970.

Graham Nash wrote, and Crosby, Stills and Nash performed ' Marrakesh Express,' released on

their 1969 self-titled debut album. The Marrakesh Express was a popular route for travelling

hippies during the mid-to-late 1960's who sought out this Moroccan city for its mythical Arabic

appearance, and maybe for its renowned hashish.




Many songs are around 4 minutes 20 seconds long; since many songs fall between 2:30 and 5:30; including for example the ' Charlie Brown Theme,' by the Vince Guaraldi Trio, Pink Floyd's, ' A Great Day for Freedom,' released 1994, the Foo Fighters' ' My Hero,' and 'Smokin',' from Boston's debut self-titled album released in 1976.

The Beatles song, ' Come Together,' is 4:20 in length. The first verse lyrics give the song a credence that it is deliberately timed to 4:20.

" Here come old flattop, he come grooving up slowly - He got joo-joo eyeball, he one holy roller - He got hair down to his knee - Got to be a joker, he just do what he please."

From the album ' Abbey Road,' released 1969. ( see Famous quotes. )


'Black Water,' a track by The Doobie Brothers, (Doobie being a nickname for marijuana joints), runs for Four minutes Twenty seconds.


Noting that the 'National Weed Smoking Day' is April 20th, rapper Method Man, named his fourth solo album released in 2006, ' 4/21......the Day After.'


MTV's 1997 Viewer's choice Award, for the MTV Video Awards, was decided by calls to 1-800-420--4MTV.


April 20th is the date Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison died - sorry not right.

Though these performers were strongly identified with drug use during their brief lifetimes and the emerging drug culture after their deaths, none of them died on April 20th.

Janis Joplin died October 4th, 1970, aged 27, in Los Angeles, U.S.A. Jimi Hendrix died September

18th, 1970, aged 27, in London, England. Jim Morrison died July 3rd, 1971, aged 27, in Paris, France.

Curiously all were aged 27.


420 was the address of the Grateful Dead's home at Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco.

Incorrect. The ' Dead ' were headquartered at 710 Ashbury, near its intersection with Haight, the

symbolic heart of the hippie community.


Jerry Garcia, lead guitarist with the Grateful Dead, died August 9th, 1995, at 4:23 am, not as is claimed 4:20.


When the Grateful Dead toured, they always stayed in Room 420 - Untrue, says Grateful Dead Productions spokesman Dennis McNally.






Other info;

Length of buzz:

In a study reportedly conducted on the effects of cannabis,

one of the conclusions was that the effects last for 4 hours

and 20 minutes, with onset in the first ten minutes.

"Coming up" for 5 - 10 minutes, a plateau for 15 - 30 minutes,

"coming down" for 45 - 60 minutes, and "after effects"

for 30 - 60 minutes.

                             (The graph adjacent summarizes the high.)



The Bible - Mark 4:20, ( which was printed on t-shirts in the late 1980's,) reads, "Others like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop - thirty six, or even a hundred times what is sown."

1 Kings 4:20: Judah and Israel were many, as the sand which is by the sea in multitude, eating and drinking and making merry

Revelation 5:14, ( King James version of the Christian Bible, ) reads, " And the four beasts said, ' Amen.' And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever."


Douglas Adams wrote that the number 42 is " The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything." in ' The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.'

' Deep Thought, ' a sophisticated computer constructed by pan-dimensional beings, gave the answer after seven-and-a-half million years of calculating.

Some believe that the number is followed by a picture of Earth (which was destroyed in the beginning of the story), thus looking like 420.

I have yet to see this, but it is still interesting re the use of the number 42 and the 42 puzzle, devised by Douglas Adams, for the 1994 U.S.A. series of ' Hitchhiker ' books. 


4/20 is the title of a comic book series featuring the alternative superhero Captain Cannabis.






Jamaicans', purportedly, worked until 4:00pm. Once on the way home they would light up their first joint of the day, approximately 4:20pm. They would then talk '420.'


Also, as they walked home, the joint would hang loosely from the corner of their mouths, at the angle of an analogue clock showing twenty past four.


April 20th, was the date Haile Selassie visited Jamaica for the first time. Sorry not right.

The late emperor, venerated by Rastafarian's for signifying the rebirth of black rule in Africa, visited Jamaica for three days in April 1966, but he did not arrive until April 21st.


It's the code you send to your drug dealer's pager / mobile - Why not ?


4:20 is tea-time for pot-smokers in Holland ?       Tea time in Holland is at 5:30 pm or is it 2:20 pm ? Seems no one is sure when so .............


Australia has a ' Four and Twenty ' meat pie.


There's a record label in California; '4:20'.


Atlanta's Sweetwater Brewing Co. sell a 420 Pale Ale. 


Highway '420 Radio broadcasts', "Music for the chemically enhanced."


And finally - in 2001, the website of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, put out a public service notice entitled;


                                                      " It's 4:20 - Do You Know Where Your Teen Is ? "


















Dr. Albert Hofman, born January 11th, 1906, discovered the psychedelic effects of LSD after accidentally absorbing some through his fingertips on April 16th, 1943.

Three days later, on April 19th, (later known as Bicycle Day, after his bicycle ride home that day while under LSD's influence), Hofman deliberately consumed 250 micrograms of LSD, and experienced far more intense effects. According to Dr Hofman's laboratory notes he took the 250 micrograms at 4:20 pm.( see History - Time began.)      


Hydroponics is the practise of cultivating plants in water, often used by indoor marijuana cultivators - 4 is used for H on a calculator - 420/H20.


420 in Binary code is 110100100 - ?


April 20th, is the best time of year to plant marijuana - Sorry not rightThere is no single 'best time' - this would change across a county and from one country to another.


WWE wrestler Rob Van Dam, an avid marijuana user, has used the catchphrase; "RVD 4:20 says, I just smoked your ass."




There are approximately 420 active chemicals in Marijuana - Sorry not right.

There are approximately 315 active chemicals in marijuana. This number goes up and down depending on which plant is used.

(Adolf Hitler was born April 20th, 1889 and the Columbine school shootings occurred April 20th, 1999. They have no relevance to FOURTWENTY / 4:20.

420 was originally a time, not a date and therefore; a) a birthday is irrelevant and b) The term was already in use before 1999.)

               Despite all of the above is their another reason 420 came into existence ?


Truths and myths.

When the 420 icon is somehow discreetly used and worked into mainstream product like films, books or music, marijuana users take notice. 


The Power of 420

Maijuana-users, like other close-knit groups, have a special language. But often, people in the straight and narrow world don't understand it. Strange and alien to outsiders are words such as ' skins, bogarting, Jays, water bong, hot blading, coffeeshops and even weed.' After 30 years of full-blown marijuana counterculture, outsiders

still remain oblivious to the most special marijuana catch phrase of all;

Four twenty.

However, those familiar with marijuana and the subculture that has surfaced around it, might still ask,

"Four hundred and twenty what ?"

Some people miss what those that understand, can find all around them.

Marijuana fans find it frequently in magazines, head-shops, films, books and music lyrics.

Some feel lucky if they own 'Four twenty' phone numbers, street addresses or birthdays.

For many users, 420 is a guiding light and inspiration. For those with a raised consciousness of it, 420 is an essential part of everyday life.


Learning is extremely important in gaining any identity. It is the basic and necessary way that any identity is achieved. And, if learning takes place with friends or family, achieving that identity is even more likely.

In parts of the U.S and Canada most pot users first learned about 420 from High school or college friends, from brothers and sisters or when sharing marijuana with new friends; for example, at rock concerts.

One of the first lessons users learned, was that while the meaning of 420 is obvious to most 'insiders' as a universal or an  international symbol for marijuana, marijuana use and marijuana subculture, it's also a 'secret code,' or 'secret advertiser.'

It allows people to wear blatant symbols of marijuana, (Fourtwenty - 420 written on hats, t-shirts and the like), without encountering negative sanctions, as they would if they wore less obscure symbols, such as marijuana leaves.

420, as a secret code, allows people to safely and accurately identify others who use marijuana. Secrets create a boundary between outsiders and insiders, making insiders feel closer together. Humour, at least for those who share in it, enhances feelings of relaxation and warmth. Together, secrets and humour can cultivate closeness, commitment, and group solidarity.

Also, organisation of time is one of the most basic frameworks that supports and legitimises a 'reality.' 4:20 time gives legitimacy or a sense of truthfulness to pot-user reality - "the time," - "prime time," - "pot-users happy hour," - "best time to toke," or the "international cannabis time."

4:20 means a source of unity or oneness in the pot-user community. It has variously been described as a, ' time to unite with all users,' a ' Cannabis Club,' and a way that ' brings users together for community, and solidarity.' A common bond among friends and fellow users when they light up at 4:20. Thousands, if not millions, of others, are doing the same thing, for the same reason.

Whether or not the actual meaning of 420 or where it came from, is important to you, compared to 420's spiritual and cultural significance, it still represents how important the number is to the marijuana community.

It is possibly more important to discuss and debate the origin than to discover the truth, because of the underlying things you learn.   

420 origin conversations are important to many users. They provide a subject for many deep, philosophical and scientific conversations and are also, in effect a learning curve. Exploring but not necessarily proving origin theories provides many an important lesson in marijuana culture. 420 origins serve as a good celebratory and often humorous teacher.

Reading the ' Truths and myths ' above, gives new marijuana users or those simpley new to being ' 420 friendly,' a reference and educational jump off point to debate police code, Amsterdam, coffeshops, cult films, Jamaica, music, icons, THC ( delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol ), Rastafarianism and many other 420 related subjects.

It also encourages people to look back to the earliest texts regarding the uses of marijuana as a ' healing herb,' and that marijuana use has a long and deep historical tradition. ( see History-Time Began ).

By discussing and debating numerous 420 origin theories, marijuana users understand important symbols of pot culture and also learn many other lessons about the importance of defying laws and legal authorities that prohibit marijuana use.The value and significance of locales where it is legal or at least tolerated; the spiritual justifications for it; and the easy, relaxed attitude of the people that use marijuana. 

The value of 420 origin stories is much like that of repeated storytelling in a close-knit family. Stories, whether true, false or embellished, strengthen the family's sense of belonging, identity, and values, bringing it closer together. The retelling of stories itself becomes a cherished ritual, and a means of communication of what is valued and important to the family.


April 20th at 4:20 pm is the ' Pot Smokers Holiday.'


Every group has its holidays, and pot-users are no exception. April 20th - FOURTWENTYDAY, is the day of worship that will be observed by many users around the world.


It is about the community identity of marijuana users.

For marijuana users, FOURTWENTYDAY, April 20th, is especially imbued with emotional and spiritual meaning, because it produces an intense collective bonding among them.


A day of celebration, the real time to get high, the grand master of all holidays - FOURTWENTYDAY - April 20th.


Four twenty means there should be a sense of family within the pot-using culture more than any other association.


A worldwide community, that also reinforces old friendships, and creates new ones. Friends travel long distances, even across the country, to party together. As a result, friendships are refreshed or ' become stronger than ever.' And people who might be strangers in other settings are bonded through their common allegiance to marijuana.


A time when you can approach people that you do not know and indulge in cannabis use with them. A time to develop deeper or new friendships because of the activities on FOURTWENTYDAY - April 20th, at 4:20 pm.








( Special thanks to Yahoo picture library and flickr for photographs. All other information from various sources including internet, local library and my own personal knowledge. Copyright p and d 2007-13. )

           Pass on 420 cannabis code






                                                                                        420 - Responsible use.


420 points us in the direction of a more responsible use of cannabis. Some people will have a joint waiting for them as soon as they wake up. They could have a business meeting or an exam that day but feel they need to be stoned as often as possible. This just leads to a reaffirmation of the stereotypical view an uneducated world looks at the use and users of marijuana. 

Others, on the other hand, are the one's who use marijuana as a creative tool to enhance their lives. They know marijuana can be an asset if used intelligently. Bob Marley, Willie Nelson, Louis Armstrong, Lennon and McCartney, Picasso and Johnny Depp are among many cultural icons that fall into this category. ( see Famous quotes. )

Education is vital, and 420 could be a very good place to start.

If we want to convince the straight world marijuana is not a dangerous plant, we must use the plant wisely, even if that means we just laugh a lot and get the munchies.

I'm on the side of the musicians, poets, artists, actors, businessmen, entrepreneurs, adventurers, forward thinkers, comedians, and all the other enlightened human beings, from the past to present, north to south and east to west, in our belief in a simple plant. Without a joint of 'Northern Lights' in the 'Dam I believe I would not have had the idea and then later, taken it further.Peace, love and unity. 

"Look, I have nothing to hide. I'm not  a great pothead or anything like that......But weed is much, much less dangerous than alcohol." - Johnny Depp



"I must begin by saying something I have said in public for many years: that I occassionally use marijuana in preference to alcohol, and have for several decades."- 

Allen Ginsberg, 1965.



You must be the change you wish to see in the world - Mahatma Gandhi





The number went on to become nationally popularized in the U.S, in the late 1980's, and more fervently, in the early to mid 1990's, leading to a variety of relaxed and/or more inspired contexts, including not only pot consumption but generally having a 'Good time'.

Note: On January 1st 2004, the Governor of California, signed that state's Senate Bill 420, which regulates marijuana used for medical purposes.

This bill comes years after the term '420' was associated with marijuana and indeed, its number was likely chosen because of the existing drug/pop culture connection.

Therefore to believe that '420' originated as a national or international pot-smoking time is a tad wide of the mark, even though the term began (?) as a reference to a particular time of day.Whether or not 4:20 p.m. is the best time of day for your first ' hit ' depends on your own body, your own needs.

Some folks feel that waiting until 4:20pm enhances ones appreciation of the herb. Of course your mileage may vary !

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