Yesterday was the official weed holiday, 4/20 and probably you were too high to remember anything. But where does the popular marijuana holiday come from? It’s something everybody should know, even you are a “legalize it” fighter or not. It’s never bad to know why one of the most popular days of modern times exists.
Also, because times were weed is more familiar will come. There have been many legal arrangements that made weed legal in eight states and shops. Becoming more frequent than ever.
Photo credit: Nim Bin Pot Shop
Where does it come from?
So what happened? on which iconic April 20th the world changed forever? Besides being Hitler’s birthday, but that’s another story. Where do the origins of the weed related date come from? Well, there are many stories regarding the term “4/20”. Some say that it comes from Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35,” as he says “Everybody must get stoned,” since 420 is the product of 12 times 35. Others claim that it refers to a police code for marijuana possession.
But in recent years a more solid theory has been raised and accepted. The story talks about a group of friends from San Rafael High School in California, who called themselves “the Waldos.” A friend’s brother was growing a patch of cannabis in the woods at Point Reyes. He was so afraid of getting busted that he drew a map and gave it to the group of friends, along the permission to harvest the crop.
During the fall of 1971, the group would meet up at 4:20 p.m., just after classes, football practice or extracurricular activities. They would meet in front of the school’s statue of chemist Louis Pasteur, smoke a joint and head out to search for the weed patch. Even though they never did find it, their lexicon of “4:20 Louie” that later turned into just “420” survived and took a life of its own.
A brother of one of The Waldos was a close friend of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, so the group started to hang out with the band and it’s circle. Making the slang spread easily and become popular. As in the 90’s Steve Bloom, a reporter from High Times, was at a concert of the band, when he was handed a flier urging people to “meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais.” Something that High Times published making it even more famous. The ones who made the flier are still unknown.
The Waldos created a cultural phenomenon
“It’s a phenomenon,” said one of the Waldos, Steve Capper, now 62 and a chief executive of a financing company in San Francisco. “Most things die within a couple years, but this just goes on and on. It’s not like someday somebody’s going to say, ‘OK, Cannabis New Year’s is on June 23rd now.'” The guys from The Waldos saved many letters and souvenirs of their fall of 71, referring to “4:20”. Which they now keep in a bank vault. These postmarked letters were cited as the earliest recorded uses of the slang reference when the Oxford English Dictionary added the term last month.
This year really marks an improvement in legalization terms referring cannabis. Weed use has been successfully approved in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts. Joining Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington in allowing recreational marijuana. More than half the states in the U.S. allow medical marijuana. Also, 60% of adults support the legalization of marijuana, according to a Gallup poll last fall.
This obviously makes that some celebrations get bigger than others. With Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and Hempfest in Seattle, some of the biggest ones. Obviously many colleges around the country, being University of Colorado’s Boulder, also some of the biggest gathering and celebration points. Even some breweries make 4/20 themed beers, being Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, California one of those who takes it more seriously. Since they release a “Waldos’ Special Ale” every year on 4/20 in honor of the creators of the term.
But it’s still illegal under U.S. law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered a review of marijuana policy this month to see how it may conflict with President Donald Trump’s crime-fighting agenda.
Until now the guys from The Waldos remain close friends, and for them, the term means a good time. “We’re not political. We’re jokesters. But there was a time that we can’t forget when it was secret, furtive. … The energy of the time was more charged, more exciting in a certain way. I’m not saying that’s all good – it’s not good they were putting people in jail. You wouldn’t want to go back there.” Carper said.