DENVER, CO - APRIL 20: Tyler Shumway of Aurora, Colorado lights up a joint as thousands gathered to celebrate the state's medicinal marijuana laws and collectively light up at 4:20 p.m. in Civic Center Park April 20, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. Colorado goes to the polls November 6 to vote on a controversial ballot initiative that would permit possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for those 21 and older. (Photo by Marc Piscotty/Getty Images)
Debbie Lord, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
You may not realize it, but Thursday is a holiday, of sorts. On April 20 – or 4/20 – marijuana advocates around the world gather to celebrate, in a variety of ways, the cannabis plant. Last year, thousands gathered in cities across the United States to consume marijuana in places where it is legal to do so, as well as places where it isn’t.
If you are not familiar with the term “420” as it is used in the marijuana culture, here’s a look at its origins and its meaning.
1. The term “420” was first associated with marijuana use in 1971.
2. It was the time of day when a group of California high school students who called themselves the “Waldos” decided to meet to hunt for a rumored abandoned stash of cannabis. The students would meet at 4:20 p.m. near a statue of Louis Pasteur on the grounds of San Rafael High School to go to search for the crop. If one of the Waldos called for a “4:20 Louis” it meant that everyone was to meet at the statue to search for the marijuana.
3. Eventually, “4:20 Louis” became just “4:20,” and the number was recognized not as a call to hunt for the abandoned cannabis, but as a code word for smoking pot.
4. The members of the band the Grateful Dead moved to the San Rafael area from San Francisco in 1970. They had connections to some of the parents of the Waldos, and eventually picked up the phrase and began using it.
5. The term spread past San Rafael with the help of the Grateful Dead and after a story about the Waldos appeared in “High Times.” Another story in the magazine suggested that 4:20 was an “accepted” hour to use cannabis.
6. April 20 is observed around the country and around the world as a time to gather together to smoke pot. In places where it is illegal to sell it, it is often given away on that day.
7. Some believe that the number 420 refers to the anniversary of the deaths of Bob Marley or Jimi Hendrix. It does not. Neither died on April 20.
8. It is not a police code for someone smoking marijuana, either.
9. Snapchat is expected to allow users to display a 420 graphic on Thursday.
10. Ben & Jerry’s Half Baked ice cream and Sour Patch Kids candy were the top two requested “munchies” delivered by goPuff last April 20. The on-demand delivery company saw an 80 percent increase in orders for food such as chips, cookies, candy and beef jerky on April 20, 2016, according to company officials.