Mapping the world's opinions

convo top image

Where does 420 come from?

For stoners worldwide, the 20th of April has long represented a day of celebration. Known commonly as '4:20' participants spend the day smoking cannabis and glorifying the culture that comes with it. But why? Competing theories exist over its origins. So, where does 420 come from?


Musical heavyweights from Bob Marley to John Lennon have been famously open about their love for the drug.

Bob Dylan invented 420

Fans of the singer point to his hit 'Rainy Day Woman' and a hidden code within the lyrics and refrains. Explore

The Grateful Dead invented 420

The band would only ever stay in Room 20 on the 4th floor, wherever they stayed on tour. Explore


With no one quite sure where the day comes from, might we have to look far into the past for answers?

The Waldos

A group of high school kids in the early 1970s known as the 'Waldos' invented 4:20 as a term to mean smoking cannabis. It referred to the time, one at which school activities were usually over so they were free to meet. Explore

Adolf Hitler

Some believe there is a connection between the day of celebration and the Nazi leader's birthday. Explore

The law

Until recently, smoking cannabis was illegal across the United States. Did "4:20" start off as an underground code?

420 is California penal code for cannabis

Rumours abound that Section 420 of the California penal code related to drug crimes. Unfortunately this is untrue: it actually refers to obstructing entry on public land...could its proponents have simply got the state wrong? Explore

420 is police code for cannabis

Urban myths have long claimed that they day was chosen because it represents the police code for smoking pot. While that's untrue, it is police code for murder in several states. Could that be a link? Explore

420 is the number of a bill to legalise cannabis

In 2003, California Senate Bill 420 (SB 420) established guidelines for cannabis as a medicinal drug. Explore
This page was last edited on Monday, 4 May 2020 at 11:35 UTC