Thursday, April 20, 2006

420 Is A Time of Day

Well, Daisy did it again. Thanks to her blog today, I learned—mere moments ago—about the existence of the term "420".

Unfortunately, after reading her blog, the details about "420" were left a little vague, and remained vague even after 10 minutes of Googling. Yes, today is April 20th (4/20), but what does 420 stand for exactly? It certainly had something to do with weed. (What can I say? I'm not a pothead. Nevertheless, I am always curious about social celebrations of all kinds.)

So I went searching for what "420" meant. And here's the best explanation I found:

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.

So there ya go, someone's parents out there invented the term 4/20.

And remember this:

There are NOT 420 chemicals in Weed. It's about 315, the num. goes up or down depending on what you're smoking.

4/20 is NOT police code or Maryjane.

And that whole shit about Holland and 4/20 over there being "tea time" for smokers isn't true either.

Ah, but there's more:

To add to the definition regarding "The Waldos," I'd like to note that in an article of High Times containing an interview with the Waldos, one of them told this story: We had heard rumors that one of the member's brothers had planted a pot patch in the wooded area around town. We all wanted to go look for this patch of weed, so we devised to meet each other by the statue of Louis Pasteur after school. We all had after school activities or electives that lasted about fifty minutes, and it took about ten minutes to get from school to our after school activities, and another ten minutes to walk from the activities to the statue. Since there were many of us, we decided that 420 would be a good time to meet so we could go search for the patch of pot. We never did find it, but we had lots of fun getting high while trying to look for it.

Therefore, when they were at school, when they saw each other between classes they would secretively say "420" and maybe give the thumb-and-pointer-finger-to-the-mouth sign to indicate that that was when they would meet to look for the weed patch. Since the Waldos were such legendary potheads, when people who were not Waldos saw this, it caught on and they assumed it was a secret code word for pot.

Never let it be said that this blog isn't educational. So... happy 420!

Post Scriptum: Daisy's reward for introducing me to this bit of arcane knowledge which I'm ashamed to say I inexplicably eschewed my entire adult life—I just bumped Aspen Extreme to the top of my Netflix queue.


daisy said...


In the future... feel free to, um, just ask what 420 is! Though I appreciate all of your research. I actually did know what 420 was NOT (police code, # of chemicals etc.) but had never heard that story... So thanks! Knowledge is power after all.

I can only hope that after all of this build up, Aspen Extreme is everything you wanted and more.

Ross Pruden said...

Sorry, Daisy—I prefer not to look dim-witted on other people's blogs... only my own! :)

Besides, mine is a curious life.