Happy 420 Colorado!!!
It's April 20, and to many people in Colorado, 420 means a day of weed-tastic libations and celebrations! At 4.20 on 4/20, pot smokers gather around the country (most notably in California and Colorado) for an epic smoke out. On this special day, I thought I would delve into the origins of the term '420' and see what information I could find. Ask anyone what '420' means or where it comes from and you will get a variety of answers.
Most everyone in the know will tell you that the numeric term is a reference to pot smoking. However, exactly how or why the term came about has been subject to debate. When you ask a bunch of pot smokers for the details, they tend to be well....hazy. A flyer handed out at a pre Grateful Dead concert in 1990 by a Deadhead sums up the 420 misconceptions well:
"420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late '70s. It started as the police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. After local heads heard of the police call, they started using the expression 420 when referring to herb - Let's Go 420, dude!"
This explanation, although partly accurate (the San Rafael part is right) is incorrect, but highlights the main misconception - that 420 is police code for lawless pot smokers. However, turns out that there is no police code 420.
Some of the other myths include:
- It's the number of active chemicals in marijuana
- It's teatime in Holland
- It has something to do with Hitler's birthday
- It's those numbers in that Bob Dylan song multiplied
All of these explanations, although very creative and plausible, are wide of the mark.
The Deadheads were right about the origins of 420 beginning in San Rafael, California. However, it was a group of San Rafael high school kids who coined the term back in 1971. The full story was uncovered by the Huffington Post in the 90’s.
The story that appears to be the most plausible goes like this....
The high school kids, known as the ‘Waldo’s’, got word that a Coast Guard service member could no longer tend his plot of marijuana plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station and set out to find some of this free bud. In search of the green bounty, the kids would meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur outside the school at 4:20.
"We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis and we eventually dropped the Louis," one of the kid’s told the Huffington Post. Their first few attempts were unsuccessful, but they kept searching for the hidden crop. "We'd meet at 4:20 and get in my old '66 Chevy Impala and, of course, we'd smoke instantly and smoke all the way out to Pt. Reyes and smoke the entire time we were out there. We did it week after week," says Steve. "We never actually found the patch."
Despite their lack of success in finding the stash, they did find a useful codeword. "I could say to one of my friends, I'd go, 420, and it was telepathic. He would know if I was saying, 'Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?' Or, 'Do you have any?' Or, 'Are you stoned right now?' It was kind of telepathic just from the way you said it," Steve says. "Our teachers didn't know what we were talking about. Our parents didn't know what we were talking about."
So if these kids really were the one’s to invent the term, how did it spread so widely into popular culture and the mainstream? Turns out, one of the Waldo’s had a direct connection to the Grateful Dead as his Dad managed their real estate and his brother was friend’s with the Dead’s bassist Phil Lesh. This particular kid smoked pot with Lesh in the 70’s, and believes the term started to spread via osmosis, in this setting.
This tale remains to be disproved, as their is no reference to the 420 term prior to 1971, and Phil Lesh has confirmed that he knew the Waldo brothers during the 70’s, and smoked pot with them.
Skip forward to 2015, & pot is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon & Alaska. Our beautiful mountain town of Telluride, Colorado, was the site of the first legal marijuana sales in the US on January 1, 2014 & we see a huge number of people visiting our town, eager to get the goods. Here at RE:treat, we love it when our guests want to go & check out the local scene. You don’t have to buy or smoke anything, but it’s fun to go around & check out the pot shops, and see what they offer.
RE:treat offers yoga inspired adventure retreats in beautiful mountain locations around the world. Our luxury yoga holidays focus on invigorating yoga practice, outdoor adventure, majestic alpine locations, delicious local food + exclusive accommodations. We want our guests to feel like they can confidently come on a solo vacation + have an amazing experience. In 2015 we will be hosting yoga retreats in Colorado + Europe.
To view our 2015 yoga retreat schedule, click here. If you have any questions, please call us on 970-729-8108.