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What Is ‘420’?

happy 420 sign

via politic365.com

There are a lot of newbies entering the marijuana world everyday now that marijuana is going mainstream. I often forget just how deep in the fishbowl I am sometimes. A question that I have received over and over again leading up to 420 weekend is ‘what is 420?’ It’s a simple question, but there is no simple answer in my opinion.

I remember the first time I heard of the concept of 420. I was in middle school in 1994, and I was smoking with one of my friends and he asked me if I knew what it meant. I tried to act cool for a minute and act like I knew what he was talking about, but I eventually came clean because I truly wanted to know more. From that day forward I have been fascinated by what ‘420’ means to people.

Obviously April 20th is the official marijuana holiday. April is the fourth month in the year, so 420 applies in that regard. However, it doesn’t have to be April 20th to celebrate 420, proven by how many people wait for 4:20 in the afternoon to roll around so they can smoke in celebration. On a side note, I think it’s worth pointing out that in the year 2020, 420 will be a month long (the entire month of April)…try to fit your head around that awesomeness.

To me 420 means much more than a day of the year, or a time of the day, or in the case of the year 2020, it’s more than a month of the year. To me, 420 is a symbol for marijuana culture. If you see someone wearing a hat or shirt that says ‘420’  on it, then you know that person considers marijuana to be a big part of their life. The are part of the ‘420 community’.

I vividly remember starting a new job after high school and I was wondering who, if anyone, smoked marijuana at my workplace. We had an Easter brunch at the venue I was working at in food service. Wouldn’t you know it, there were 420 customers that showed up that day. One of my coworkers kept saying it over and over with a grin on his face, ‘There were 420 guests today. 420 guests. 420. 420.’ I kept looking around to see who else was smiling, and realized really fast that everyone I was working with loved to smoke. That’s just one example of what 420 means, although there are many others out there. There is no ‘official’ definition, other than it represents marijuana in some way.

What does 420 mean to you? Is it just a day, and how that day became a holiday? Is it culture and community? Is it something else? I look forward to reading your comments.


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  1. To me 420 is a symbol of those who enjoy partaking in marijuana. Personally I like to smoke at 420. That’s about dinner time and it helps me to eat the correct amount of food. It also cuts down on my anxiety, pain from knee replacement, pain from fibromyalgia and bipolar disorder. Marijuana keeps me sane and keeps me from going postal on the idiots I come in contact with on a regular basis. It also keeps me from doing harder drugs. It helps me sleep and keeps me calm.

  2. Great Lakes Labs on

    History of the Phrase: 4:20 I have heard many different people’s guess to what this phrase means. “Depending on who you ask, or their state of inebriation, there are as many varieties of answers as strains of medical bud in California. It’s the number of active chemicals in marijuana… It’s teatime in Holland… It has something to do with Hitler’s birthday… It’s those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied… It has something to do with a police code — A group of five San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos – by virtue of their chosen hang-out spot, a wall outside the school – the term was coined in 1971.

  3. Happy Easter and 420. To me it’s many things. A code of sorts, an icebreaker with new people. It represents a culture, recreational and medical alike. It’s also a saying, like “it’s five o’clock somewhere” is for those who want a cocktail or beer. It’s universal, and something most newbies will learn about quickly. What I like the best is it ain’t ever gonna go away! Whatever it means to you, it’s here to stay. And 20 past any hour is a good time for me.

  4. Happy 420 and Easter I think about first time we smoked and I think 420 I’ll be poking some holes in a pop can lol

  5. Come celebrate 4/20 in Weed, California ! That’s right… WEED, CA ! “High on the Slopes of Mt Shasta”… Come celebrate and watch “Tokey the Bear” as he crawls out of his cave after a long winter hibernation. If he sees his shadow, then winter’s over, spring is here and everyone celebrates by firing up a big fatty. If… he doesn’t see his shadow, then winter’s over, spring is here and everyone celebrates by firing up a big fatty. Either way…..
    If Punxsutawney, PA can have Punxsutawney Phil….
    Then WEED, CA can have “TOKEY the BEAR” !
    Our new annual tradition…. Happy 4/20 !

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