What is 420?
It’s 4:20 pm and suddenly everyone is thinking the same thing. You may not understand why, but you notice a large group of people leaving the room to go outside. No one has to say anything and yet everyone got the “signal”. You may not even smoke weed, but for some reason you know it’s time to smoke it. Heck, you even know that April 20th (4/20) is national weed smoking day. Why is that? What is 420, where did it come from and what does 420 friendly mean? Depending on who you ask, or their state of inebriation, there are many varieties of answers to these questions. But, one universal truth is that 420 is the time and/or date in which it’s time to spark up and smoke some weed.
Where did 420 come from?
Before you ask yourself “What does 420 friendly mean?”, you must first ask yourself “What is 420 and where did it come from?” If you are not familiar with the term “420”, especially since it’s 2018, I am not exactly sure what rock you have been living under for so long. Whether you are a part of the marijuana culture or not, here’s a look at its origin and what it really means. The term “420” was first associated with marijuana use in 1971. It was the time of day when a group of California high school students, who called themselves the “Waldos”, decided to meet and hunt down a rumored abandoned stash of marijuana. The students would meet at 4:20 PM 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 somewhere in the Point Reyes forest. Eventually, “4:20 Louis” became just “4:20”, and the number became recognized not just as a call to hunt for the abandoned cannabis, but as a code word for smoking weed.
How did the term 420 spread so quickly?
Once again, before we answer the question “What does 420 friendly mean?”, it’s important to know why you’re even asking the question in the first place. Have you ever even wondered why you’ve heard the term 420 over and over throughout the years? Believe it or not, the term 420 spread very quickly in part because of the band The Grateful Dead. Members of the band 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 420 and began using it. The legend goes that on Dec. 28, 1990, Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers inviting people to smoke weed on April 20 at 4:20 PM — and one those flyers got in the hands of Steve Bloom, a former reporter for High Times magazine. The magazine published the flyer in 1991 and continued to reference the number. In 1998, the outlet recognized the “Waldos” as the “inventors” of 420. Another story in the magazine suggested that 4:20 was an “accepted” hour to use cannabis, and before long 420 became known globally for its association with marijuana. The Waldos never envisioned that pot smokers all over the world would celebrate each April 20th as a result of their descent into the Point Reyes forest looking for that rumored stash. The day has managed to become a widely celebrated national holiday across cannabis culture. It literally spread like wildfire.
What Does 420 Friendly Mean?
For starters, the term 420 has made its way into popular culture and mainstream settings. For instance, nearly all of the clocks in the pawn shop scene in the movie Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20. In 2003, when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law voters had approved, the bill was named “SB420”. It is even used on Craigslist postings for people trying to find new roommates who smoke weed, listing “420 friendly” in their posts. So, what is 420 friendly you ask? In the most basic sense of the term, someone who is 420 friendly is accepting of those who smoke weed. It doesn’t necessarily mean they themselves smoke weed, but they are “friendly” to those that do. In a more generic sense of the term, someone who is 420 friendly is a more chill, laid back individual who gets along with those who smoke weed, and more often than not, will hang out and smoke with you if given the opportunity. It’s a calling card, for cannabis connoisseurs (and anyone else who approves) to unite and stick together, rather than get stuck in social situations with those who will judge and despise them for smoking.
Whether they remember how they knew the term or not, everyone seems to know exactly what it means no matter where or when it comes up. It’s rather mind blowing when you actually think about it. Some high school students started using 4:20 as a meeting time in their search for a mysteriously rumored weed crop, the term “420” became their call to arms, it eventually got picked up and spread by The Grateful Dead, and here we are. It’s become so widely used that people now use the phrase “420 friendly” to simply let others now they are cool with weed, whether they smoke it or not. Case closed.