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Origin of 420
April 20, 2017
420, 4:20, or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) is a code-term that refers to the consumption of cannabis, especially smoking cannabis around the time 4:20 p.m./a.m. (or 16:20 in some European nations) and smoking and celebrating cannabis on the date April 20 (which is 4/20 in U.S. form).
A group of people in San Rafael, California, calling themselves the Waldos because “their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school”, used the term in connection with a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about, based on a treasure map made by the grower. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase “4:20 Louis”. Several failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply “4:20”, which ultimately evolved into a codeword that the teens used to mean marijuana-smoking in general.
Mike Edison says that Steven Hager of High Times was responsible for taking the story about the Waldos to “mind-boggling, cult-like extremes” and “suppressing” all other stories about the origin of the term.
Hager wrote “Stoner Smart or Stoner Stupid?” in which he called for 4:20 p.m. to be the socially accepted hour of the day to consume cannabis. He attributes the early spread of the phrase to Grateful Dead
followers, who were also linked to the city of San Rafael.
By the 8th century, cannabis had been introduced by Arab traders to Central and Southern Africa, where it is known as ‘dagga’ and many Rastas say it is a part of their African culture that they are reclaiming. It is sometimes also referred to as ‘the healing of the nation’, a phrase adapted from Revelation 22:2.
Alternatively, the migration of many thousands of Hindus and Muslims from British India to the Caribbean in the 20th century may have brought this culture to Jamaica. Many academics point to Indo-Caribbean origins for the ganja sacrament resulting from the importation of Indian migrant workers in a post-abolition Jamaican landscape. Dreadlocked mystics Jata, often ascetic known as sadhus or Sufi Qalandars and Derwishes, have smoked cannabis from both chillums and coconut shell hookahs in South Asia since the ancient times. Also, the reference of ‘chalice’ may be a transliteration of ‘jam-e-qalandar’ (a term used by Sufi ascetics meaning ‘bowl or cup of qalandar’). In South Asia, in addition to smoking, cannabis is often consumed as a drink known as bhang and most qalandars carry a large wooden pestle for that reason.
Today the Jamaican religion Rastafari promotes cannabis use for religious use. Yes I!