By Victor Gonzalez
Yesterday we learned that there’s a lot more to 4/20 than just bong rips and bloodshot eyeballs. April 20 marks the anniversary of some pretty serious shit like Hitler’s birth and the Columbine Massacre. It’s also the day BP ruined the Gulf of Mexico and killed 11 workers in the process after the Deepwater Horizon Semi-Submersible Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit exploded, and released a shit-ton of crude oil into the ocean. It was a total 4/20 buzzkill.
So why is it that a seemingly haunted date is celebrated as pot’s counterculture Christmas? Well, there’s a bunch of different theories that only make sense when you’re high. From pot-related penal codes to Jerry Garcia’s favorite hotel room, 4/20’s origins remain widely debated.
1. “We’ve got a 420 in progress, we’re going to need back-up.”
It’s been rumored that 4/20 was the California penal code for marijuana possession, but sorry stoner, it’s not. In fact, penal code 4-20 is about obstructing access to public landand “ever person who unlawfully prevents, hinders, or obstructs…is guilty of a misdemeanor.”
2. Drug Dealer Pager Code 420.
What came first, the stoner or the beeper? The stoner did, and so did the 420-pot connection that inevitably became a beeper code like 42, 143, 555. The 420-pot/beeper connection pretty much died when cell phones took over, and texting your drug dealer became all the rage. “Yo bro, got work?”
3. The Grateful Dead Insisted on Staying in Room 420.
Yes, the Grateful Dead might be the most overrated dad-rock jam band in the history of modern music, and the only reason pot’s become so synonymous with the band isn’t because the group members were a bunch stoners, but rather you must be high to listen to their music. The thought of the entire group sharing room 420 is ludicrous. What fourth floor room of any hotel you’ve ever been to could possibly accommodate Jerry Garcia’s fat ass, and a bunch of other sweaty, smelly hippies? None.
4. It’s Tea Time in Amsterdam.
Really? Everyone knows teatime in Holland is at 3 p.m. Actually, we’re not sure if it is because last time we were in Amsterdam, we were so fucked up on mushrooms that we regrettably missed afternoon tea, and opted for a tour of the Van Gogh Museum.
5. 1970s San Rafael, California “High” School Kids Coin the Phrase
According to a High Times magazine article and in-depth research by Huffington Post, a group of stoner classmates who called themselves “The Waldos,” coined the 420-term in 1971 when they heard a plot of weed plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station had been left unattended. They’d meet outside of their San Rafael High School, and embark on a quest to find green each day, but came up short every time. But 420 stuck, and they found it to be a clever code word for pot smoking.
Forty years later, “four-twenty” is still part of the American lexicon.
What did we learn today? Nothing of serious value, just a bunch of useless trivia y’all can share with your frat bros tomorrow when you’re posted up on the couch hitting that sweet, glass-on-glass Roor you spent last semester’s tuition money on.
Article From Miami New Times and used with special permission.