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Ok, so every pothead out there knows about the day 420 or 4/20, which presumably means the day April 20. Yes, this is a day associated with pot heads, weed celebrations, and getting super high.
That said, what is so special about the day 420? Alright, so, the fact of the matter is that although we now associate the term 4/20 with April 20th, it did not actually start out this way. 420 originally had to do with a time of day when a certain group of people would get high.
Let’s talk about the origins of 420, and debunk some myths about it to.
The Real Origins Of 420
The most plausible explanation, and most likely the true explanation for this whole 420 phenomenon was first explained by a former editor of the High Times Magazine, Steven Hager.
He was interviewed by the New York Times, and according to him, 420 has to do with a bunch of high school students from California.
What is the meaning behind 420?
According to Hager, a group of dedicated pot smoking high school students would get together at 4:20 pm in the afternoon, so after school, in order to smoke weed and get high.
Eventually, 420 then became code for smoking weed, so other non weed smoking folk would not know what the potheads were talking about.
However, what is interesting is of course that this had to do with a time of day, not a calendar day of the year. However, for calendar purposes, this was the converted to the date 4/20, or April 20th.
Why Was 420 Changed From A Time To A Date?
Quite honestly, why exactly 4/20 used to be a time of day, and now is most often thought of as April 20th, is more or less unknown. Simply put, this might have to do with confusion. Have you ever played the telephone game?
This is where one person tells the next person in line a piece of information, and then this information gets passed on to the next person and the next, until the end of the line has been reached.
Chances are that the piece of information started out much differently than it ended up as. Simply put, things get lost in translation and confused in the process. Another explanation for this however might also have to do with commercialism.
Over the past years, especially in the past decades, more so in countries where weed has not been frowned on as much, the day 4/20 has become highly commercialized and a great way for a various of pot and pot related business, whether legal or not, to make a hefty profit.
Myths About The Origins of The Day 420
There are a couple of myths out there which tend to make their rounds, myths concerning the origins of 420 that are simply not true.
One such myth is that the California legal code used the numbers 4/20 to refer to illegal marijuana smoking, and this is where the slang then came from.
However, this is actually the exact opposite. The police started using this code well after the high school students mentioned above had invented it.
Another false theory as to why the 420 became so popular has to do with the amount of active compounds contained in marijuana.
It was thought that there were exactly 420 compounds in marijuana, but of course, this is false, as there are actually well over 500 active compounds contained in pot.
Yet another false theory concerning the date 420 has to do with Bob Marley. Younger folks often say that 4/20 or April 20 was the birthday of Bob Marley, whereas others think that this was the day he died on.
Well, Bob Marley was born in February and died in May, therefore proving that this theory is also false.
The Commercialization Of 420
What is of course true is the day April 20th has now become highly commercialized, which is understandable in our capitalist society.
Now, across the world, mainly in Europe and North America, the day April 20th is often home to massive weed celebrations, where thousands of people gather in certain places and certain cities. It’s a huge stoner culture day, like Christmas for stoners.
Of course, it is now usually custom that everybody at these gathers simultaneously smokes weed at 4:20 pm in the afternoon on April 20th.
Although 420 started out as nothing more than a time code for stoners to smoke weed after school, it quickly transformed into a highly ritualized and commercialized day.
Pot related business and festival organizers make massive amounts of cash on this day each and every single year.
The bottom line is that 420 started out as nothing more than a code for a bunch of California high school stoners to meet up at a certain time after school to get high.
Of course, this quickly morphed into so much more than that, into the lore and massive celebrations that we know today.