Ah, 4/20 – a day where the air is filled with the sweet scent of…well, you know. It’s a time when friends gather, giggles ensue, and munchies are consumed by the pound. But why 420? Where did this holiday come from, and why is it so beloved? Let’s take a closer look at the history and culture surrounding this hazy holiday on April 20th. This article will answer questions like what is 420, and what does happy 420 mean?
WHERE DID 420 COME FROM?
In the early 1970s, the mysterious 420 began circulating in the cannabis community. From sly comments like, “I’m going for a walk at 4:20 if anyone wants to join,” to 420 flags waving at concerts, those who knew, knew and those who didn’t, didn’t.
It all started with a group of SoCal high schoolers called the Waldos. In 1971, they partook a treasure hunt for a lost marijuana plant. Every day after school they met up at 4:20, smoked a bit, and continued the search. One of the Waldos had a friend in the Grateful Dead, and the secret phrase spread like wildfire.
So what does 420 stand for? Previously with the Waldos, 420 meant a 4:20 pm time stamp for cannabis consumption.
Up until 1998 when theories about the origin of 420 met head to head, myths ran rampant. These theories were pretty strong if you ask us, but most myths were debunked once the Waldo Crew set the record straight.
A Police Code for Cannabis-Related Offenses
Some believed 420 was the police radio code used when marijuana smokers had been caught. This seems believable but doesn’t hold up to even minimal investigation.
Some departments have said 420 implies trespassing in progress. In Vegas, it’s used for homicide calls. After all, who would pick a secret word that literally alerts the police of your illegal activities at the time?
The Famous Bob Dylan Song
Bob Dylan’s 1966 song “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” was another strong contender. After all, the song repeats, “everybody must get stoned,” and 12 x 35 = 420. However, the song was released before any mentionings of 420, so could he be referring to it? He also never commented on whether the song was implying the meaning of 420.
420 Compounds Found in Marijuana?
At one point, scientists believed there were 420 compounds in the cannabis plant. We can see how this was a contender for the origin of 420, however, there’s no evidence that the number 420 was ever the reported number of chemicals. We now know that there are more than 500 compounds found in the plant!
The Most Likely Explanation: The Waldo’s
High Times magazine started using the term in 1991 after hearing it at a Grateful Dead concert. They falsely reported the police theory as its inception. The Waldos actually showed dated letters proving their early use of the term, and Grateful Dead members substantiated that it started circulating when Waldos members entered the picture.
So, we have the Waldos and the Deadheads to thank for our beloved 420 holiday.
WHY IS 420 ASSOCIATED WITH WEED?
Over decades, the high school secret spread to a globally recognized holiday in which the 420 meaning is embraced worldwide. So why is 420 weed day? Because some close friends and a tight-knit community had a good sense of humor and were smart enough to be discreet.
A DAY, TIME, AND LIFESTYLE
What was once a strategic code word used to prevent getting caught developed into a symbol of the counterculture and eventually an unofficial holiday. People smoke weed at 4:20 pm, celebrate on April 20th, and unabashedly wave 420 friendly flags at their establishments. This cultural slang for marijuana consumption is hardly a secret anymore, but the 420 meaning is still used as a marker of camaraderie.
Now that you know what 420 is, you can celebrate confidently. Make 4/20 different from your everyday smoke session by creating a yearly tradition with friends. Making a plan ahead of time generates anticipation and ensures smooth sailing.
Get the Best Bud
Get a concentrate or collect your keef and sprinkle it on top of your bowl pack – this will get you celebratorily higher than usual – so be cautious and don’t take more than you’re known to handle. This 420, indulge in a trusted concentrate that’s strong (and legal) like those from Mood. Our Delta 8 Concentrates are reliably sourced and super potent.
Roll the Celebratory Cross Joint
Nothing says 420 day like lighting three ends of the same joint. These treasures are saved for special occasions and are perfect for evoking laughs with your buddies.
Split an Edible with your Friends
Sharing laughs with friends is what 420 is about. Here are some of our favorite Delta 8 edibles from Mood that will do the trick.
15mg Delta 9 THC Gummies
Celebrate 420 day with these hemp-based 15mg Delta 9 THC Gummies. They’re non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and strong – half a gummy is plenty for most people.
Hero Dose Rapid Onset THC Gummies
The Hero Dose Rapid Onset THC Gummies are geared toward experienced users. With 15mg of D8, 15mg of D9, 2mg of live resin, and .5mg of THCp, these gummies say happy 420 back.
Delta-9 THC Chocolate Chip Cookies
Our tasty Delta-9 THC Chocolate Chip Cookies have a 1:1 THC/CBD ratio for a balanced, peaceful experience. They’re great for celebrating the 420 holiday with friends in the park, at the beach, or spending a movie night-in.
25mg Delta-8 THC Gel Caps
Perfect for a variety of situations and settings, the 25mg Delta-8 THC Gel Caps are a simple alternative for those uninterested in smoking or vaping. If you’re seeking a clean yet powerful high this 420, give these a try.
4/20 Camping Fun
What better way to say happy 420 than by passing a joint around a campfire, stargazing, telling stories, and reminiscing? Bring a guitar or tambourine for a jam sesh, and make sure to pack sufficient munchies!
Documentaries like Grass is Greener, The Culture High, and Weediquette are not only informative but super interesting and provide well-rounded knowledge about what’s going on in the weed community. What better way to gain respect for the 420 meaning than to learn the context and history of the movement?
Christmas and Halloween have movie marathons on cable TV, and 420 is following suit. Every April 20th, TV channels and streaming services host marathons or specials like Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party and F** That’s delicious 420 Special. Channels include VH1, Comedy Central, FXX, Viceland, and Fuse.
LEGALIZATION IS CHANGING THE 4/20 TRADITION
What was once a secret counterculture is now a public celebratory display in many states. With the rise of dispensaries and cannabis investors, 4/20 is nearing the status of a commercialized holiday like St. Patricks Day for the alcohol industry and Christmas for big-box stores.
The Commercialization of 420
Because the taboo is lifting and there’s a market to capture, brands are capitalizing on the 420 meaning in their marketing campaigns. Their copywriting is pretty clever if you ask us.
Lyft’s discounted rides for $4.20
Lyft partners with several municipal traffic departments to keep impaired drivers off the streets on 4/20. In Massachusetts, Los Angeles, and Denver, to mention a few, citizens can use a promo code for a $4.20 Lyft ride!
Spotify’s 420 Playlist
Since 2015 or so, Spotify releases an ultimate 4/20 playlist for members to enjoy while high. They use a formula to amalgamate the songs most frequently added to the 40,000 420 user-created playlists on the platform. Top songs include Cypress Hill’s Hits From the Bong, Snoop Dogg’s Gin and Juice, and Sublime’s Smoke Two Joints.
Jack in the Box Smoothies
One 4/20, Jack in the Box released a Pineapple Express smoothie flavor, a not-so-subtle allusion to weed. Pineapple Express is a cannabis strain as well as a popular stoner movie. All smoothies are priced at $4.20 on this day, and they vow to plant a tree for every Pineapple Express smoothie ordered in honor of Earth day being on 4/22.
In 2021, the popular dog toy subscription service released a 4/20-themed box that became so popular, it’s now a yearly tradition. The plush bongs, joints, and gummies go for over $200 on eBay and go out-of-stock every year!
DON’T MISS THESE GLOBAL 4/20 CELEBRATIONS
So, when is 420 celebrated worldwide?
Around the world, cannabis lovers gather to celebrate and learn about the beloved plant. Not all festivals are on April 20th; assuming community members want to attend more than one event, they fall on different days, but all celebrate the 4/20 spirit.
Established in 2002, Spannabis occurs in Barcelona, Spain each March. This weed extravaganza is one of the largest in the world, with over 25,00 visitors in attendance in 2019. You’ll find growers, retailers, and educational booths illustrating why 420 is more than a synonym for weed.
420 Hemp Fest
Located in Milan, Italy, the 420 Hemp Fest is a 10,000 sq ft festival featuring growers, vendors, and over 170 booths. This international expo gives creators and enthusiasts a place to meet and share knowledge of cannabis.
The Cannabis Cup
Everything goes in Amsterdam, making it a fitting location for the annual Cannabis Cup. Representing the true meaning of 420, this expo hosts educational seminars, networking opportunities, cannabis competitions, and fun activities. Past competition judges include Snoop Dogg, Damian Marley, Tommy Chong, and Method Man.
NYC Cannabis Parade
The New York City Cannabis Parade & Rally (NYCCPR) is among the longest-running marijuana legalization events in the world. Involving numerous high-bar speakers, this event is ideal for community members who believe no one should be in jail for using marijuana.
420 QUOTES & POP CULTURE REFERENCES
There are a handful of references to the 420 holiday within pop culture that every member of the cannabis community should know. These moments made the weed world what it is today and introduced marijuana into mainstream conversations.
TV & Movies
Cinema plays a huge role in uniting and entertaining the cannabis community, with representations of the counterculture going back decades. Here are the most influential/iconic 420 references that paved the way and changed the game.
The stoner comedy film Half Baked revolves around a group of friends who sell marijuana to raise bail money for a friend who is arrested for feeding a diabetic police horse junk food on 4/20. Only a true stoner could wrap their head around this plot, thus why it’s one of the ultimate pot movies and a classic take on the 4/20 meaning.
Dazed and Confused
Dazed and Confused is a 1993 movie directed by Richard Linklater. It takes place on the last day of school in 1976 and features many scenes of characters smoking weed and celebrating 4/20. The stoner classic has a whopping 94% on Rotten Tomatoes, and while watching, viewers feel like they’re in some time capsule smoking pot with friends in another era.
Cheech and Chong
Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong represented the marijuana community for a long time and were arguably the first cannabis “personalities.” The comedy duo known as Cheech and Chong made a series of films in the 1970s and 80s that often featured marijuana use and references to 4/20. Top hits include Up in Smoke and Cheech & Chongs Next Movie.
That 70s Show
The 70s Show was actually filmed in the late 90s and features big names like Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and *drumroll please* Tommy Chong. The show’s hallmark scene is the daily 4:20 smoke circle in which the characters smoke weed in the basement while discussing various topics.
The newest on the list, Pineapple Express, is another stoner comedy that takes place on 4/20 and features a plot centered around a rare strain of marijuana. Starring Seth Rogan and James Franco, two modern-day cannabis icons, this movie is hilarious, smart, and a stellar representation of the 4/20 meaning.
This isn’t so much an iconic moment but a representation of how 420 is becoming more widely known. In season 5, episode 13 of the Office, Dwight finds a bag of marijuana in the parking lot and marks the time he found it as 4:20.
Our Favorite 420 Quotes
- “If you ever miss 4:20, just wait until 4:22. Because 4:22 is 4:20, too.” – Unknown
- “I got 99 problems and 420 solutions.” — Unknown
- “You can’t buy happiness but you can smoke weed, and that’s pretty close!” — Unknown
- “Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see.” – Thomas Jefferson.
420 in Music
Musicians embrace the 4/20 lifestyle and proudly write songs about their involvement. Here are a few examples:
- Snoop Dogg’s 420
- Wiz Khalifa’s 420 Freestyle
- Afroman’s Because I Got High (this one doesn’t outright say 420, but it’s known as a 4/20 anthem for smokers)
- Kid Cudi’s Marijuana
Ben & Jerry’s Activism
Ben & Jerry’s are long-time proponents of legalization. With ice cream flavors like Half Baked, Cherry Garcia, and Phish Food (a shout-out to the rock band Phish), it’s no secret that brand members are part of the 420 community. They’re loud and proud about their support for legalization and believe the meaning of 420 includes fair treatment for all groups.
420 in Legislation
Lawmakers use the 4/20 code word to name their legalization bills as a way to increase awareness. Examples include the famous 420 Marijuana bill of 2019, Act H.R.420 pushing for regulation similar to that of alcohol, and the mayor of Washington D.C. granting a 420 license plate to Adam Eidinger, an influential cannabis rights activist.
State vs Federal Laws
Despite being legal in many states across the country for medical and/or recreational purposes, marijuana is still unlawful on the federal level. Hemp, by virtue of the 2018 Farm Bill, is lawful on the federal level provided the cannabis plant or product contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC on a dry weight basis. In some 4/20 friendly places like Colorado and Washington D.C., you can buy cannabis products at a storefront. In other states like Idaho, cannabis is 100% illegal.
This is obviously controversial, as we have fellow countrymen behind bars for the plant and others making billions from it without breaking a single law.
THE FUTURE OF 420
The taboo around cannabis is fading; as legalization expands, prison sentences are being expunged, and weed is becoming normalized. The counterculture aspect might be weaker, but the nostalgia remains. New attitudes and newfound popularity are welcomed because they mean the stigma is shrinking and more people will have access to cannabis. As weed day 2023 approaches, consider and appreciate how far we’ve come as a community.
LET MOOD MAKE YOUR 420 UNFORGETTABLE
So when is national weed day 2023? April 20th, of course!
Mood is making it easy and, more importantly, legal to celebrate weed day 2023. With nationwide shipping in legal states, quality testing, and thousands of satisfied customer reviews, you won’t regret choosing mood to be your 4/20 supplier. Our popular Delta 8 Gummies are tasty, vegan, and pack a real punch.
Until next time, remember to keep the green spirit alive!