By: KRISTINE GONZALES
It seems like more people every day are trying cannabis for the first time than ever before, even if you haven't partaken in this recreational and therapeutic activity. Most people today, due to newly found mainstream acceptance and pop culture that April 20, aka 420, has become a seminal pop culture celebration of cannabis culture. But really, what does "420" mean, and how did it take over April 20?
Although it may seem shrouded in mystery, it is essential to understand the history and how it ties into cannabis history. There is a rumor that police officers have used the code "420," signaling someone is smoking marijuana. The cannabis movement built on rebellion certainly could have inspired consumers to celebrate that time/day. Even though this rumor is wildly convincing, it is just a rumor.
The real reason why we celebrate 420 seems more like a legend than reality, but it all started with five students at a California High School. This group of students is known as the "Waldos" because they met at 4:20 by a campus statue. The "Waldos" would say "420" to each other as a code for marijuana at their meeting spot.
One of the group members, Reddix, worked with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh as a roadie and helped to popularize the term "420" into pop culture history. Later on December 28, 1990, a group of Deadheads in Oakland began to advertise to smoke "420" on April 20 at 4:20 p.m. One of these flyers ended up in the hands of Steve Bloom, a former High Times Magazine reporter. High Times printed the announcement in 1991, continued to reference the number, and further popularized the code for marijuana worldwide.
Bloom has credited the Deadheads, who created the flyer for the 420 smoke and greet and the date's reputation as a recognized cannabis holiday. In 2015 Bloom wrote, "They wanted people all over the world to get together on one day each year and collectively smoke pot at the same time." The Waldos, and the Deadheads, all with the help of Bloom, birthed the idea of a cannabis holiday into what it is today.
Today, people worldwide gather on April 20 to celebrate cannabis liberation and rebellion. It is a time for people of all races and ages to come together with one love. Seeing how far 420 has come from its humble beginnings at a California High School, it is not so crazy to think that one day 420 could be a national holiday.
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