What Does 420 Mean? - Everything 420 | Weeday

The most famous number within the cannabis community - but where did it originate from?
A graphic illustration of a hand holding a cannabis leaf in front of a 420 clock.

420 - that is the number that puts a smile on all cannabis enthusiasts around the world. Every smoker has probably experienced dozing off during a 4pm college lecture, and their friend sitting next to them giggling and showing the time on their phone, denoting 4:20pm. Both would end up giggling until the professor eventually told them to be quiet, secretly knowing why they were giggling. The particular number has been a symbol of weed ever since 1971, quietly making April 20th an unofficial Cannabis day of the year and allowing businesses and individuals to use the number to denote the term 'cannabis' without being direct. But how did 420 become a symbol of cannabis from a simple code word? What does 420 mean, and what impact does it have on today's cannabis community? Let's find out about everything 420, and more.


An illustration of a group of old friends smiling and looking at the camera

So what does 420 mean? Is there any meaning to 420? The original story of why 420 became a weed day started around 50 years ago when a group of five friends, Dave Reddix, Larry Schwartz, Steve Capper, Mark Gravich, and Jeffrey Noel, known as the Waldos, gathered around to smoke cannabis at a high school in Northern California. Living in the 70s meant that cannabis was strictly illegal, so the friends needed a code to be discreet. They chose to meet at 4:20pm, when all the school and extracurricular activities were over, to smoke together. The number thus denotes 4:20 pm in the afternoon and has no verbal or visual reference to the cannabis itself. But the number 420 lived on and carried the meaning well into the 90s.

The breakout happened in the 1990s, when a group of Grateful Dead fans started spreading the number through distributing flyers encouraging the use of cannabis "420" on April 20th at 4:20 pm. This was made possible because Reddix was hired as the band's assistant. Since then, 420 has been the symbol of the cannabis community, making a permanent association with the community. The five brave friends still associate themselves with the cannabis community. They even produce vape pens under the brand name The Waldos' Vape Pen in association with a San Francisco-based company, Chemistry. So, for people who anticipated the linguistic connection between weed and 420, they may be disappointed, but the meeting of five brave students of the 70s for a smoke session after class answers the question of 'what does 420 mean.'


In present days, the question of 'what does 420 mean' takes a different turn. The code no longer symbolizes cannabis in a discreet way. Rather, the number 420 is now the definition of cannabis itself. Businesses use the term '420 friendly' to inform that they are cannabis-friendly. April 20th is now the biggest day for cannabis businesses, as users from all around the world (where it's legal) gather to celebrate Cannabis day. Advocacy movements are also performed during the day. Cities like New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Washington all have designated gathering spaces for advocacy movements. Countries like Mexico and Canada also have their own gathering spaces around the nation.

It’s not all fan-made events, though. 420 is also recognized widely by government entities, especially in North America. Regulation bills for marijuana use in California and Guam were called Senate Bill 420, and Bill 420 (later changed to 423) respectively, and North Dakota called theirs HB 1420. In 2021, the state of Colorado auctioned cannabis-themed license plates, with the close-day set on April 20th. With more recognition from government entities allowing broader use of cannabis as a whole, it is safe to say that the number 420 is making a major impact in the cannabis industry.


However, 420 has also caused stress for local governments as well. After repeated theft, the local police had to replace the 420 sign on I-70 East of Denver with 419.99, which was also stolen a few times as well. The Idaho Department of Transportation also had a similar problem with the 420 mile marker on U.S. Highway 95 and replaced it with 419.9. The last standing 420 mile marker on U.S. Route 89 in Utah is still stolen periodically to this day. We suggest, as members of the cannabis community, not to be encouraged by such actions because bringing cannabis to the mainstream urges us to be responsible for our actions while promoting positivity.

Similar to the freeway sign incidents, hotels have also removed room 420 from their buildings, either changing the room to 419+1 or removing the number completely from the floor. Hotels made such changes because weed enthusiasts would book the room and hotbox (smoke weed in a closed space) the area or steal the room number plate in celebration. Some hotels do have room 420, but most of them would have the number 420 engraved on the door instead of sticking a number plate to avoid any plate theft. This is the second major number removal after the removal of the number 13 for bad omen. While the situation is quite humorous, we once again strongly recommend against such actions to promote our community’s positivity.


A series of controversial studies were conducted regarding the increased risk of vehicle crashes on April 20th. The study concluded that the risk of a fatal crash was significantly higher on April 20th than other controlled days. This caused concerns not only over the risk of crashes but also the stigmatization of weed in general. Fortunately, later studies showed that the evidence from the previous study was not enough to distinguish excess drivers involved in fatal crashes on April 20th. While the case was proven to be lacking evidence, it is still essential that the community use of cannabis should strictly forbid driving after smoking.


420 is the undisputed number that symbolizes and represents cannabis. But there is another number that is coming into the limelight: 710. The number 710, when turned upside down, resembles the word OIL, and because of that, it represents a particular type of cannabis consumption that includes hash oil and dabbing. The history of 710 isn’t as old as 420, but it is gaining rapid popularity among the dabbing community, with events and sales commencing on July 10th to commemorate the number. 710 Degree Cup, Kush Masters 710 Celebration, and Camp Sesh are some of the major events happening on July the 10th to celebrate the dabbing community.


What started as a high school clique's code has become a grand symbol of the fastest-growing industry. With governments and corporations aligning weed with everything 420, the reputation is only getting stronger. The smile that a user gets when they hear the number 420, whether intentional or not, brings a little humor to the community, as well as a sense of connection to those who understand. 420 has been the symbol of weed since the 1970s and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future. Now that we have found out what 420 means, we need to focus on improving the community. For the cannabis community, preserving the meaning of 420 is crucial, and our actions and behavior will ultimately decide the future answer to the question: "What does 420 mean?"

Now that you know the meaning of 420, it is time to enhance your high lifestyle to the next level. Weeday bong aims not only to make your high lifestyle more hygienic, but also more colorful at the same time by allowing the gear to be detachable therefore making it easier to clean, as well as personalize.

Shop yours today at getweeday.com

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