Fourtwenty 420

420 legend: stories, anecdotes and true origin of 420

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420. The number most widely associated with cannabis culture. What does it exactly mean?

Every stoner knows that 4:20 is the time to smoke, 4/20 is the international cannabis day, but where does 420 originates from? That’s the real question that we’re going to answer. Plus, there’s a bonus video waiting at the end of the article.

There are lots of anecdotes (almost legends) from where the term 420 originates. You can find lots of similar articles about 420 on the internet, but this one has revealed a secret connection that probably no one really knows (until now).

How 420 started?

No, Hitler’s birthday has nothing to do with it and neither does the 420 police code. The origin of the “four-twenty” (420) code can be attributed to a group of high school students in San Rafael, California, back in 1971.

Hitler’s birthday?

Adolf Hitler was born on April 20, 1889 in Austria but has completely nothing to do with 420. He almost certanly never used cannabis, but was taking lots and lots of other drugs. Well, we won’t talk about Hitler anymore because cannabis deserves the attention.

Bob Dylan and 420

Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. Does that makes any sense to you? Well it did for someone who was probably stoned when listening to Bob Dylan’s Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. And then he or she probably had a “mind-blowing” moment. 12 x 35 = wait, what? 420!

The song was recorded in 1966, five years before the actual origin of 420.

Connection between cannabis and 4/20

Is the cannabis (as a plant) the reason for 420? Definitely not. There have been some rumours that the 420 is the consequence of cannabis having more than 400 chemical compounds (cannabinoids, terpenes,…) in it, but the 420 number can’t be found anywhere – that was probably another’s stoners idea…

420 law

Is it just a coincidence or was it intentional? Probably the latter, but it’s up to you to decide. The bill for legalizing the medical marijuana law in California was named SB420 and that is something familiar with stoner culture. Well, we can definitely say that this wasn’t the origin of 4:20 but it’s an interesting fact.

The origin of 420

1971, California… “Hey, 420, Louis”. Wait, what does that mean?

A group of students that called themselves ‘Waldos’ started using the code which meant: “Let’s all meet at the Louis Pasteur statue at 4:20 and go get high”. But before “only” getting high took place at 4:20, the Waldos supposedly got a treasure map to a cannabis crop from a coast guard. Some say that the treasure map actually lead to coast guard’s crop, but the Waldos never found it, so their 4:20 stoned treasure hunts became only getting high at 4:20.

After a while, the term Louis was abandoned and therefore the 420 as we know today originated.

Secret connection between Louis Pasteur and 420 that nobody predicted

When the Waldos started using the term “420 Louis” there wasn’t any connection to 20th of April yet – let alone to Louis Pasteur (well only as a meeting point). But little did they knew when 20th of April was declared the international cannabis day that this day represents not only an important date for cannabis users, but it represented an important day in Louis Pasteur’s life. On the 20th of April in 1862 Louis and Claude Bernard completed the first pasteurization test. And we all know how the development of pasteurization impacted the field of medicine.

Did the Waldos predict that, has anyone had any clues about it, did the universe wanted this amazing connection or is it all just a huge coincidence and was this discovered only today when I was writting the article?

Nevertheless, it is an amazing fact.

Short facts about 420


  • Czech Republic has +420 country code, making it the most 420 country
  • 4/20 holiday supposedly appeared in May 1991
  • 4:20 was called to be socially accepted hour to consume cannabis by the Waldo (Reddix) who was a Greatful Dead’s bassist Phil Lesh roadie.
  • Many clocks in Pulp Fiction (and other movies and shows) are set to 4:20
  • State of Colorado switched mile marker “420” to “419.99” because people kept stealing it.
  • Many hotels do not have room 420 – it skips from 419 to 421.


  • Cannabis plants grow best if planted on 20th of April
  • Bob Marley was born/died on 4/20 (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981) – but his son was born on 20th of April (true).
  • The lethal dose is 420 grams of cannabis.

What happened on 20th April throughout history?

  • 1611 – First known performance of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth at the Globe Theatre, London, recorded by Simon Forman
  • 1770 – Captain James Cook arrives in New South Wales
  • 1777 – New York adopts new constitution as an independent state
  • 1792 – Amidst the French Revolution, France declares war on Austria and Prussia, beginning the French Revolutionary Wars
  • 1808 – Napoleon III, Emperor of France (1852-70), born in Paris (d. 1873)
  • 1809 – Napoleon I and French forces defeat Austria at Battle of Abensberg, Bavaria
  • 1862 First pasteurization test completed by Frenchmen Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard
  • 1879 – 1st mobile home (horse drawn) used in a journey from London & Cyprus
  • 1887 – Georges Bouton wins the world’s 1st motor race on a steam-powered quadricycle, a ‘test’ organised by French newspaper Le Velocipede
  • 1889 – Adolf Hitler, Austrian-born German dictator and Führer of Nazi Germany (1936-45), born in Gasthof zum Pommer, Braunau am Inn, Austria-Hungary (d. 1945)
  • 1902 – Marie and Pierre Curie isolate the radioactive compound radium chloride
  • 1912 – Bram Stoker, Irish theater manager/writer (Dracula), dies at 64
  • 1914 – Betty Lou Gerson, American voice actress (101 Dalmatians, Cinderella), born in Chattanooga, Tennessee (d. 1999)
  • 1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, aka The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims marking his final victories before his death the following day
  • 1937 – George Takei, American actor (Sulu-Star Trek, Green Berets), born in Los Angeles, California
  • 1947 – Ken Scott, British record producer and engineer (The Beatles, Elton John, Pink Floyd), born in London, England
  • 1948 – Craig Frost, American keyboardist (Grand Funk Railroad-Some Kind of Wonderful), born in Flint, Michigan
  • 1952 – Božidar Maljković, Serbian basketball coach and president of the Olympic Committee of Serbia, born in Otočac, Croatia
  • 1963 – Aubrey de Grey, British biomedical gerontologist, born in London
  • 1967 – Mike Portnoy, American drummer (Dream Theater), born in Long Beach, New York
  • 1968 – British politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech
  • 1972 – Stephen Marley, Jamaican-American reggae musician, son of Bob Marley, born in Wilmington, Delaware
  • 1976 – Shay Given, Irish footballer, born in Lifford, County Donegal, Ireland
  • 1983 – Miranda Kerr, Australian supermodel, born in Sydney, Australia
  • 1986 – Michael Jordan sets NBA playoff record with 63 points in a game
  • 1992 – All-star concert in memory of Freddie Mercury held at Wembley Stadium, London
  • 2003 – Daijiro Kato, Japanese motorcycle racer dies (b. 1976)
  • 2010 – The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes, killing 11 and causing the rig to sink, causing a massive oil discharge into the Gulf of Mexico and an environmental diaster
  • 2010 – Dorothy Height, American civil rights and women’s rights activist (National Council of Negro Women), dies at 98
  • 2018 – Avicii (Tim Bergling), Swedish musician, DJ, remixer and record producer (Levels, Wake Me Up, Sunshine), commits suicide at 28

Enjoy and spread information about cannabis!

Author: L. O.



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