420 Origin

Why do we smoke at 4:20?


Something that all weed smokers can agree on is that we have a certain tendency to forget stuff due to our high state of mind, let’s say it that way. However, there is also something that no smoker can ever forget: the number 420. How come a simple number became so important for our community and how smoking at 4:20 became a tradition? Here you will learn about all the myths around it, who popularized it and how this number is still present today in weed smokers' lives. You will also learn about a brand-new weed factory based in Estrie (Quebec) that is participating in making this tradition continue.


First let’s find out everything that 420 is not. Through the time, everybody speculated about the signification of 420 and this led to many myths around it. There was a theory that 420 was the law enforcement radio code for “Marijuana smoking in progress”. This could have been a possibility but it’s simply not true unfortunately. Then some people suggested that 420 represented the number of chemical entities contained in cannabis (including all the cannabinoids) which was a great guess but the final number or chemicals was determined to be exactly 483. Another theory was that it represented the date of Bob Marley’s birthday but he was born on February 6th 1945. People also thought that it could represent the date that either, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix or Janis Joplin passed away but none of them actually died in April or neither on the 20th of the month.


The real story behind all these mysteries is actually the story of five high school friends that started in 1971. They were all going to the San Raphael High School in California and they would hang out by the same wall everyday so they decided to call themselves “The Waldos”. They met up at 4:20 by the Louis Pasteur statue to smoke a joint and head up to the forest, looking for a secret and abandoned weed plantation (which location still remains a mystery). The Waldos had a few connections with the music group The Grateful Dead and would hang out backstage with them calling 420 when a joint was passing around. The term 420 as a slang for smoking weed slowly spread in the fan’s community until 1990 when a writer for High Times got handed a flyer at a Grateful Dead show. The guy who handed it to him said: “We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County”. They wanted people from all around the world to get together and smoke weed all at the same time so they came out with the idea of a stoner holiday on April 20th every year.


Nowadays, 420 is a universal code to smoke weed and many festivals around the globe are organised on April 20th as the Milan’s 4.20 Hemp Fest, the ExpoCannabis Uruguay, the Vancouver’s Smoke Out, the London’s 420 Hyde Park and the San Francisco’s Hippie Hill. More closely to us, every year (but 2021 due to the pandemic) there is a gathering organised on the Mont Royal to manifest for the right to smoke cannabis. Today, 420 is no more a secret code or an inside joke, it’s used everywhere as in gamer tags, Instagram profiles, email addresses, YouTube and Twitter names, etc.


There is also a brand-new weed factory based in Estrie (Quebec) named Lot420 (www.lot420.com) to honour the tradition. Located in Mansonville, their team in composed with experimented producers cultivating, harvest, dry and trim the plants the old fashion way. Their goal is to ensure to their customers the best cannabis on the market with a deep respect for the nature. Since a couple of months, their product, the Gelato 33, is on the SQDC shelves for everyone to enjoy. They are also looking for new employees with expertise and valuable knowledge on cannabis culture to improve their team, so if this speaks to you, jump on the opportunity to join a wonderful team and work with pleasure and fun.


For sure 420 isn’t dead and even if this number was surrounded by mysteries, this never stopped anyone from enjoying a good joint at 4:20 in the afternoon (or in the morning). Keep on celebrating the tradition and go support Lot420 on their pages (www.facebook.com/lot420highwater/, https://www.instagram.com/lot420_/) and on your next trip to your nearest SQDC.

 Watch our video on the subject here:


And you, what's your way to honor the 420's tradition?

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