04/17/2013 01:40 pm ET Updated Jun 17, 2013

The Origin of the Term '420'

The term "420" is undoubtedly one of the most recognized expressions by the cannabis consuming community throughout the world. So how did the notorious time of day, time of year and exceedingly used number receive the designation of 4:20, 4/20 and "420"?

Cannabis lovers have always associated said term with good times, great friends and incredible cannabis camaraderie. Furthermore, it's used primarily in the United States to refer to the consumption of cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with the cannabis subculture.

Traditionally the expression began amid a group of cannabis consuming teenagers attending the San Rafael High School in California back in the 1970s.

The tweed tokin' teenyboppers referred to themselves as the Waldos due to their chosen hang-out spot located outside their high school, a wall. How very original.

The Waldos initially used the term in connection with a plan to investigate an abandoned cannabis crop in which they intended to track down and destroy the evil substance by means of small controlled burns. The group arranged to meet under the Louis Pasteur statue on the school grounds at exactly, you guessed it, 4:20 pm.

The cannabis-crop-confiscating conspirators referred to their pot-pinching-plan with the phrase "4:20 Louis" as an acknowledgment to their meeting place. After numerous failed attempts to locate the abandoned-bud the slogan was shortened to the notorious "4:20," which would ultimately evolve into a code word that would be used by San Rafael High School student-stoners to refer to the act of smoking cannabis.

There have also been reports that the term's early cultivation is accredited to the well-known Deadheads which religiously followed the band Grateful Dead, who were also connected to the San Rafael area.

It was likewise reported that once cannabis aficionados were using "420″ as a code for smoking-out, the word of the ritual expanded to become communal events that would be held on the 20th day of April each year in various places across the globe by like-minded cannabis lovers.

When searching for information regarding the origin of the term "420" the list of mythical descriptions that can be compiled resembles that of the fictional Area 51 in Roswell. I'm sure if I searched hard enough I could even find a fable linking the term's origin to the famous alien warehouse.

Regardless of how the term came to be, it is here to stay, and for some cannabis consumers it is 4:20 all day every day or it's always 4:20 somewhere. The date 4/20 itself continues to gain popularity worldwide which is apparent in terms of the newly created and regularly scheduled events that take place each and every year.

The famous time of day, time of year and exceptionally utilized number can be used practically anywhere throughout the globe to aid in identifying a fellow toker and will undeniably be a part of the cannabis culture's vocabulary for at least 420 more years or so.

Subscribe to the Politics email.
How will Trump’s administration impact you?