With all the talk about the 4/20 celebrations happening post-legalization, we thought we would take a walk down stoner lane and look at the origin of 4/20.
For a lot of people 4/20 is a holiday of sorts, for those who aren’t 24/7 stoners it’s a day to indulge. For those who do partake daily it’s a day to celebrate a wonderful plant that has brought so much joy and relief to our lives. But where did it all start? How did it all begin?
Legend says that it all started because of a rumor that the code for a marijuana bust was 420. Over the radio, police would call in “code 420. Reports of marijuana use in progress.” So stoners decided to defy this code by using 4/20 as a national day to do exactly what the cops were trying to stop; smoke weed openly, freely and in public. However, once you look into it, you will find that this is not the case. In fact, if you dig a little deeper, to date there is actually no police code associated with 420. The only government association with 420 is a California Senate Bill, Bill 420, which pertains to medical marijuana but wasn’t introduced until the early 2000s. So if these are just rumors, where does the true story stem from? Why do we even come together on this day to celebrate?
It’s time to take you back, all the way to the ‘70s to be exact. When a group of five high school students started what would become today’s biggest marijuana movement. It’s time to welcome The Waldos.
It’s fall 1971 in Marin County, California. Five San Rafael High School kids are hanging out against the schools wall. Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffery Noel and Mark Gravich, or ‘the Waldos’ as they referred to themselves as, are looking to follow a treasure map to search for an abandoned cannabis crop on the Point Reyes Peninsula. A friend of the Waldos who had a brother in the U.S. coast guard and was growing pot at the time gave the had given the map to Steve. The coast guardsman, being paranoid that he was going to get busted, granted permission for The Waldos to harvest his crop – if they could find it.
To make sure that their search didn’t interfere with their schooling, The Waldos decided to meet at the statue of chemist Louis Pasteur that was on the campus of San Rafael High at 4:20, a term they later coined “420 Louis.” Despite the portrayal of stoners in today’s pop culture, the Waldos were motivated, creative, active, driven, involved, aware, intellectual, fit and educated. Which meant that this wild goose chase they were about to endure on would entice all their skills. After indulging in some of California’s finest, the boys would set out to search for the pot patch.
In the following days the boys would remind each other of their after school quest with “420 Louie,” eventually after several failed attempts at finding the golden ticket the “Louie” was dropped and the boys referred to their hunt as just “420”. What started out as just a secret slang used between friends, a private joke of sorts, grew like wildfire and was soon picked up by others and spread across the country and down from generation to generation as the perfect pot smoking time.
The Waldos had no idea that they were creating history, at the time they were just goofing around with friends. But what they started impacted the world of weed and created a marijuana movement that we still celebrate to this day. Of course, since it’s beginning, it has morphed into so much more than just the perfect time to smoke up, now it has become a stand to legalize pot, and an event that brings together stoners from all walks of life. Wherever The Waldos are now, we thank you for starting what has become such an impactful event for the cannabis culture.