Cannabis 101: Why is it called 420? And Why This Day


When you are growing weed or thinking of doing it at some point, you get to learn a lot about cannabis culture. Beyond choosing seed variants, the right grow lights for your plants, harvest time and methods, you will also pick up a lot of codes and terms along the way including the numbers 420.

As you become more familiar with the street names, nicknames, and slangs surrounding cannabis consumption, you begin to fully appreciate the richness of the culture that has developed around cannabis and its uses. You might begin to wonder about their significance, especially the most popular ones that you will likely come across and hear about like 420 (four-twenty).

So what is 420 and how is it significant in cannabis consumption whether as medicine or recreational drug?

What is it

While cannabis is legal in some parts of the world, there are still many places where there is a lot of stigma and risks associated with it. And within this environment, a culture is formed. One in which is people operate in their own social behaviors, systems, codes, and terms.

420 or 4/20 is widely used to mean the 4:20 time around which cannabis is smoked or consumed. It also refers to April 20 or 4/20 that marks the date when cannabis is celebrated in many places across the globe regardless if it is legal or not.

There are a lot of stories surrounding the origins of the numbers. One of the best-known tales points to a group of students who were said to have coined the term in 1971. It all started when the five high school students from San Rafael, California came up with a plan to meet secretly every day to search for a crop of marijuana plants rumored to have been abandoned by a farmer. The exact location was unknown but it was said that the stash was somewhere in the vicinity of Point Reyes National Seashore. With plenty of ground to cover, they agreed to meet at 4:20pm every day to scour the area for the coveted crop. Over time, the term took on a more generic meaning often associated with cannabis smoking or consumption.

Weed Day

Every April 20, many people from various cities around the world celebrate the international day for cannabis also often referred to as “Weed Day” or “High Day”. It is marked with gatherings where people celebrate by consuming cannabis usually lighting up to smoke at 4:20pm. The celebration is also marked with other weed-related activities including awareness campaigns and calls for the legalization of cannabis, especially in places where consumption comes at a great personal risk to users.