AP Explains: 4/20 grew from humble roots to pot high holiday

Thursday marks marijuana culture’s high holiday, 4/20, when college students gather — at 4:20 p.m. — in clouds of smoke on campus quads and when pot shops in legal weed states thank their customers with discounts.

This year’s edition provides an occasion for pot activists to reflect on how far their movement has come, with recreational pot now allowed in eight states and the nation’s capital, as well as a changed national political climate that could threaten to slow or undermine their cause.

Here’s a look at the holiday’s history.


WHY 4/20?

The origins of the date, and the term “420” generally, were long murky. Some claimed it referred to a police code for marijuana possession or that it arose from Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35,” with its refrain of “Everybody must get stoned” — 420 being the product of 12 times 35.

But in recent years, a consensus has emerged around the most credible explanation: It started with a group of bell-bottomed buddies from San Rafael High School in California, who called themselves “the Waldos.” A friend’s brother was afraid of getting busted for a patch of cannabis he was growing in the woods at Point Reyes, so he drew a map and gave the teens permission to harvest the crop, the story goes.

During fall 1971, at 4:20 p.m., just after classes and football practice, the group would meet up at the school’s statue of chemist Louis Pasteur, smoke a joint and head out to search for the weed patch. They never did find it, but their private lexicon — “420 Louie” and later just “420” — would take on a life of its own.

The Waldos saved postmarked letters and other artifacts from the 1970s referencing “420,” which they now keep in a bank vault, and when the Oxford English Dictionary added the term last month , it cited some of those documents as the entry’s earliest recorded uses .




A brother of one of the Waldos was a close friend of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, as Lesh once confirmed in an interview with the Huffington Post. The Waldos began hanging out in the band’s circle, and the slang spread.

Fast-forward to the early 1990s: Steve Bloom, a reporter for the cannabis magazine High Times, was at a Dead show 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.” High Times published it.

“It’s a phenomenon,” said one of the Waldos, Steve Capper, now 62 and a chief executive at a payroll 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.'”

Bloom, now editor in chief of Freedom Leaf Magazine, notes that while the Waldos came up with the term, the people who made the flier — and effectively turned 4/20 into a holiday — remain unknown.




With weed, naturally. Some of the celebrations are bigger than others; Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park typically draws thousands. In Seattle, the organizers of the annual Hempfest event are anticipating about 250 people at a private party. Some pot shops are offering discounts or hosting block parties.

College quads and statehouse lawns are also known for drawing 4/20 celebrants, with the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus historically among the largest gatherings — though not so much since administrators started closing off the campus several years ago. Generally, 4/20 events in Colorado have dropped off significantly since the state legalized recreational use in 2012.

Some breweries make 4/20 themed beers — including SweetWater Brewing in Atlanta, whose founders attended CU-Boulder. Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, California, releases its “Waldos’ Special Ale” every year on 4/20 in honor of the term’s coiners.




This year’s 4/20 follows successful legalization campaigns in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts, which join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington in allowing recreational marijuana. More than half the states allow medical marijuana.

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.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly recently called marijuana “a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.” That’s a view long held by drug warriors despite scant evidence.

Sixty percent of adults support legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll last fall, and two-thirds of respondents in a Yahoo/Marist poll released this week said marijuana is safer than opioids.

Undermining regulatory schemes in legal pot states could prompt a backlash that would hasten the end of federal prohibition, said Vivian McPeak, a founder of Seattle’s Hempfest.

“We’re looking at an attorney general who wants to bring America back into the 1980s in terms of drug policy,” McPeak said. “I’m skeptical they can put the cannabis genie back into the bottle.”




McPeak says 4/20 these days is “half-celebration and half-call to action.”

For the Waldos, who remain close friends, it signifies above all else a good time, Capper said.

“We’re not political. We’re jokesters,” he said. “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,” he added. “You wouldn’t want to go back there.”


Updates April 2017

“Happy” Birthday To Me! 

It has been a shocking 31 years of my life and little have I given the idea that I would even make it this far in life.  I have accomplished all of my goals and shall hopefully be in Ecaudor living out the remaining months of my life away from the shithole called America.  This is also my second birthday that has went by without my biological parents in my life but it is all for the better as I replaced them long ago.  My mentor plans to take me out for dinner this Friday and I got my 8th tattoo about an hour ago to commemorate the ending of my career as an educator.  Also, in advance, I would like to thank those who wished me a happy birthday on Facebook because due to my post block, I will be unable to interact with them until May 4th at my earliest convenience.


A New Sidepiece

Usually I never talk about who I am seeing or dating but I did post a picture of her on my instagram page.  Talk about a grand opportunity to lavish praise upon a woman who does not fit the stereotype of the typical feminist sluts that most women have become in my eyes.  She knows very well that a woman’s role must remain in the kitchen and the garden where they must stay to help raise the children and tend to the needs of the house so that stability can remain a part of the family infrastructure.  However, a woman must also know that their role must be one of pure submission to the man’s desires and my sidepiece recognizes that.  That is why I have been urging many men to get a sidepiece and to stop bothering with women until they abandon the evil notion of feminism.  Then of course, maybe with the continuance of rapes, they will sooner realize that their role has long been to sit down, shut up, and remain submissive to their roles as mothers and wives or face complete destruction.


No More Teaching

I have made the decision that the end of June will mark the end of my 4 years as an educator as I have grown tired, angry, and hateful towards all aspects of the American education system.  It is a fitting time to leave the field because now that I have acquired my MBA degree, I can leave the field for greener pastures.  I have to continue to seek residence in a foreign country, mostly to avoid repayment of my student loans but to also live out my final few months in peace away from the greed of jews and white freemasons.  I will write a full personal narrative on my journey as an educator sometime in July to make my entire journey a great piece of the history of my life thus far so please look for that in the near future.


New YouTube Channel



About a week ago, I did an interview with a great friend and national socialist Nicholas Pride on his plans to run for office of President of the United States in the year 2020.  I was able to open a YouTube channel to record our interview and we have decided that I should do more of such activities since the first one was such a rousing success.  So, I have decided to make a YouTube channel for this website and to try and post interviews that I do with other like minded people that I might run into down the line of life.  It is another great avenue of content that can be delivered to those who subscribe to this website and I already have 3 subscribers and 6 new likes for my first video below