In the world of weed, one number means something to pretty much everyone: 420. Whether you’ve been hiding out as a solo toker or you’re just not down with the lingo, there will come a point when you’re asking, “What is 420?”
The answer? Truthfully, 420 can be a lot of things. Check out the low-down below.
What is 420? 4:20, 4/20, and 420 Explained
So, 420 has a lot of defined meanings and ambiguous uses.
What’s the best time to fire up? Ask any weed enthusiast, and they’ll answer with a resounding 4:20, of course. The date 4/20 is even designated as the international day for smoking weed. It’s true—it’s a legitimate holiday in cannabis culture! People have all kinds of high times when April 20th rolls around every year. Leafly usually gives a helpful lineup of all the festivities like pot-friendly parties, festivals, concerts, and more.
Beyond the best date and time for weed, however, 420 is tossed around all the time. Sometimes, people even refer to their weed as “420,” so if you’re in the right circle, don’t be surprised if the number comes up a lot. Hey, you got any 420? You may even hear of places being 420-friendly, which basically means weed is welcome. Rumor has it that 420 is now even reserved as law language when they spot someone smoking or possessing cannabis.
OK, so where did the whole 420 thing start?
The big question is usually how in the world did 420 ever get attached to weed? There are rumors, many of which are false. Apocryphal tales of NYPD and LAPD radio codes for cannabis-related crimes, California penal codes for those incarcerated for possession, and the recurring hotel room number of the Grateful Dead have all been told for years. They’ve all largely been proven false.
However, there are a few credible stories that may ring true. According to TIME Magazine, 420 started way back in 1971. Five students at a high school in California calling themselves “The Waldos” met at 4:20 p.m. daily to toke, so they started using “420” as their code word for their festivities.
Eventually, one of those students is said to get work with the Grateful Dead. In 1990, a bunch of Deadheads passed around flyers that encouraged everyone to light up their “420” at 4:20 p.m. on 4/20. This flyer was republished a year later by High Times Magazine. And, as it goes, the rest is history.
Hold On – 420 is Evolving Thanks to Legalization
So, 420 may have humble beginnings as a sort-of codeword, but the dark days of cannabis are slowly and surely coming to an end. Now that 18 states have some level of recreational cannabis available, 420 is no longer such a secretive term. You’ll hear the number used for advertising purposes, attached to recognized events, and even on big-name products.
Also, a lot of cannabis-related companies leverage the 4/20 holiday. When the big day rolls around every April, you’ll find everything from company-sponsored events to good deals at your favorite dispensaries. Some major events kick-off, such as the High Times Cannabis Cup, and these events are nowhere near held in the dark.
Some worry that the beloved countercultural significance of 420 is slowly slipping away as cannabis grows to be more accepted. However, one thing is for certain, 420 will always mean something to people who love cannabis.
Celebrate 420 with Bern Gallery
Whether you’re just now discovering the meaning of 420 or you’ve always known, the Bern Gallery’s got you covered when you decide to grab your own “420” and celebrate. Yep—we’ll gladly help you celebrate 420 in whatever way you choose by making sure you got the glass you need for the occasion. Does that make us 420-friendly? Believe so. Be sure to take a look at our collection of top-shelf smoking pipes, bongs, and accessories.