Understanding and Celebrating the History Behind 420

Understanding and Celebrating the History Behind 420

Curious about where the term “420” came from? We thought you might be.

Also written as 4/20 or 4:20, April 20th has become nearly synonymous with cannabis. Since this year will be the first 420 in which adult-use cannabis is legal in Canada, we’re feeling extra celebratory. But where did this hazy term actually come from?

What is the history of 420?

As it turns out, everything began in 1971 with a group of teenagers from California. Five high school students, having caught wind of a rumour that cannabis was growing nearby, began meeting after school at precisely 4:20pm in search of the mysterious plants. They never did find anything; but the term stuck around. Soon, 420 became a way for them to communicate amongst each other.

Years later, one of the students would work with the band Grateful Dead and eventually met High Times magazine reporter Steve Bloom. Bloom would be the one to take the term to the next level. He published an article about 420 in the May 1991 issue of the magazine, bringing it into the mainstream.

Celebrating the history of 420

April 20th became an unofficial holiday dedicated to celebrating cannabis culture, and it continues to be recognized by cannabis enthusiasts around the world.

Adult-use cannabis may now be legal in Canada, but we still have a long way to go in terms of ending the stigma associated with cannabis use. Let’s come together this year on April 20th to bring awareness to the history of cannabis, and to celebrate legalization!