April 20th isn’t just national weed day; it’s international weed day! This year, with the coronavirus pandemic still requiring many of us to maintain our social distance, large gatherings of cannabis lovers are frowned upon for different reasons than usual.
But just because several larger 420 events have been canceled or postponed doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate the holiday on your own or with your pod. While you're partaking, why not take a look at how 420 is celebrated across the globe.
What Does 420 Mean?
The number 420 has become synonymous with pot-smoking, but what exactly does it mean, and how did 420 start?
420 as a concept is somewhat ill-defined and has a broad variety of uses. 420 can be a reference to the April 20th unofficial cannabis holiday or used as a reference to partaking in cannabis use.
It can even be used to subtly signal that you’re a cannabis user. Have you ever been scrolling dating profiles or apartment listings and wondered, “what is 420 friendly?” The phrase lets potential partners or roommates know that the poster is cool with marijuana use and is likely a smoker or cannabis-user themselves.
What Is 420?
420 also references the April 20th holiday where cannabis enthusiasts share in their love for the plant by simultaneously sparking up across the globe. The tradition has been going strong for over three decades now.
How Did 420 Start?
The 420 origin story began in a bay area high school of all places. A group of friends, who called themselves the Waldos, set out on a journey to find a secret stash of cannabis plants with only a hand-drawn map, their wits, and plenty of joints to assist them.
The group would meet every afternoon after school in front of a statue of Louis Pasteur at exactly 4:20 pm to begin their hunt. During school hours, they would use the time 4:20 as a code to remind one another of their ganja quest. While the Waldos never were successful in finding their hidden treasure, the 420 code stuck around.
A few years later, one of the Waldos would get a gig as a roadie for the infamous marijuana-smoking jam band The Grateful Dead. Soon the Dead themselves would add 420 to their lexicon, and from there, it spread during their prolific touring schedule.
It would be Oakland Deadheads in 1990 who would ultimately start the first 420-holiday celebration by passing out flyers encouraging the city to all toke up on that April afternoon.
How Is 420 Celebrated Across The World?
We Americans may have been the originators of 420, but it’s become a global phenomenon.
Amsterdam, the capital city of The Netherlands with a hazy reputation for being 420 friendly, throws an annual 420 festival to mark the holiday. Visit the many cafes the city has to offer where legal cannabis can be bought and consumed.
Since 1995, British Columbia has been (at times begrudgingly) hosting one of the largest 420 celebrations/protests on the planet—Smokeout Vancouver. The gathering itself is canceled this year due to health concerns regarding Covid-19, but you can still celebrate in spirit.
At Hyde Park in London, thousands of brits gather annually to get stoned and pressure the government to decriminalize marijuana. This year, the event will be held virtually.
Looking back stateside, Denver, Colorado hosts a massive 100% cannabis festival called flyhi420 fest. The outdoor event features live music (this year’s headliner will be Lil Jon), good vibes, and plenty of legal recreational cannabis.
However you choose to celebrate this year, we at E1011 Labs wish you a happy 420!