Stoned History: The Origin of 420

The Origin of 420

You may have heard the term 420 came from an old police code or the number of active ingredients in marijuana or something about team time in holland, but all of these are just wisetales. We’re coming at you with the FACTS of just how and when the term ‘420’ began.

In the fall of ’71 there was a group of 5 stoner friends called the Waldos who created the term “420” at San Rafael High School in Marin County, CA. One of the Waldo’s was given a treasure map to a cannabis crop on Point Reyes by a friend whose brother was in the Coast Guard. This friends’ brother didn’t want to get caught growing, so he granted permission to the guys to go ahead and harvest what they could find. The Waldo’s decided to meet at 4:20pm at the statue of Louis Pasteur at San Rafael High to hunt down the perfect crop. Long story short, they got high, drove off, and never found the weed. Even though the hunt was unsuccessful, they decided to keep using the term 420 as slang to refer to cannabis.

420 Grateful Dead Show Flyer posted by High Times

4:20 Makes it Mainstream

Later in life one of the Waldo’s was working for the Grateful Dead as a roadie. He would always use the term ‘420’ when referencing weed it just stuck. The band caught on, loved it, then used it in some of their touring promotions. A High Times editor saw one of these show flyers in the early 90’s which asked the audience to “Smoke 420 on April 20th at 4:20pm.” He published this flyer in the magazine and the rest is history.

Since then the Waldos have gone on to create special collaborations in honor of 420 like their vape pen with chemistry and limited edition craft beer with Lagunitas.

Click here to download our free Waldo’s coloring sheet

The Waldos – Origin of 420

Scroll to Top