Modified on: 29/07/2023
The american legend of the national marijuana holiday and the number 420
Today, we hear more and more about legal cannabis and light marijuana. Even the medical world is beginning to evaluate and investigate the potential health benefits of this precious and ancient plant.
However, perhaps not everyone knows that there is also a Cannabis Day: a veritable National Marijuana Day, which all cannabis enthusiasts and admirers celebrate with a series of not-quite-legal events. In fact, in most cases, such celebrations consist of gatherings whose participants, often numbering several thousand, meet to smoke.
A well-known example is a yearly party in Boulder, Colorado, a university campus where even more than 10,000 people gather, although the police try to obstruct the event. After all, one must consider that marijuana is entirely legal in the USA in several states.
But what is National Marijuana Day, and why is it traditionally linked to the number 420?
The supposed origins of National Marijuana Day
The legend of National Marijuana Day originated in 1971 in California at San Rafael High School. Since then, tens of thousands of people still gather to smoke and celebrate what has become an actual national holiday.
But why is the celebration of cannabis linked to the number 420? Many rumours have been created around this peculiarity. Let us delve into the past to discover the most unusual and picturesque legends created around this now-famous holiday.
Why April 20th was chosen and what 420 means
The date April 20th refers to the number 420: April 20th in the American calendar, or 4/20. Therefore, it is no coincidence that some advertisements are posted by American students on Craigslist, especially concerning rooms and accommodation. In addition, one often finds the words 420 Friendly among the various information: in this case, the author of the advertisement states, albeit implicitly, that they dislike smoking marijuana.
How the legend of the number 420 originated
The origins of the number 420 in the context of marijuana are somewhat complex. But, as we have mentioned, it was in 1971 when five students from the San Rafael School, located in California, learned of an abandoned marijuana farm near the school.
Naturally, the five boys, who used to call each other by the nickname of Waldo, could not miss a visit to this marvel, so they set an appointment for 4:20, after class, intending to search for the famous plantation.
However, a search turns out futile: the plantation may not exist, or perhaps it is in a different place: the boys do not find it anyway. Nevertheless, despite the failure, the five waldos maintain the habit of meeting every day, always at the same time, at 4:20, to go to Point Reyes, the place where the mysterious cannabis field is supposed to be, travel in an old Chevrolet car and smoking weed all along the way.
And so, the number 420, day after day, becomes a sort of secret code for them, a number that indicates, first and foremost, a desire to get together, have fun and smoke marijuana. A code that slowly spreads throughout the University of San Rafael and beyond. To the Grateful Dead, one of the hippies’ most famous and beloved rock bands.
However, this is not the only legend linked to the number 420: several others exist in America. Some even claim that it is a police code to indicate the presence of cannabis, but this information has never been proven or verified.
The number 420 is a mass phenomenon and false myth.
During this time, 420 has spread to the point of becoming an actual global event. One need only think of the Grateful Dead, whom the waldos probably knew well, or Quentin Tarantino, who, in the film Pulp Fiction, sets all the clocks to 4:20 in homage to the young Californians.
Otherwise, there are many other theories related to 420, some of which are absurd and improbable. As we have said, it has never been proven that 420 is a code used by the police. Furthermore, it is not true that it is the number of active ingredients present in the plant (there are about a hundred less), there is no link between Cannabis Day and Hitler’s birthday (born on April 20th), there are no connections, other than coincidental, with the number 420 and the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s song Rainy day woman 12 & 35.
And it is not true that April 20th is the ideal date for sowing cannabis: the outstanding sowing season depends on numerous factors, from the geographical area to the local microclimate. Moreover, thanks to the possibility of indoor, hydroponic, or grow box cultivation, cannabis can be sown in practically any season.
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