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420, 4:20 or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) refers to consumption of cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with cannabis drug subculture.


The term originated from a group of teenagers at San Rafael High Schoolmarker in San Rafael, Californiamarker, United States in 1971. The teens would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana at the Louis Pasteur statue.

According to an April 2009 article on the The Huffington Post, the group called itself the Waldos because its members hung out by a wall after school. Writer Ryan Grim, citing interviews with anonymous Waldos, claims that the group met by the statue at 4:20 p.m. to begin a search for a crop of unguarded cannabis growing near Point Reyesmarker that they had heard about. They never found the stash, Grim writes, but smoked plenty of marijuana while looking for it.

While April 20 is Adolf Hitler's birthday, there is no connection between the two events.

Also, according to his book LSD: My Problem Child, 4:20 PM was the time that LSD inventor Albert Hoffman ingested LSD-25 intentionally for the first time.

April 20th observances

April 20 ("4/20" in U.S.marker date notation) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. In some locations this celebration coincides with Earth Week. At events in the United States, it is common to hear about Abraham Lincoln, one of many American politicians known for past use of cannabis, who wrote that one of his "favorite things" was "smoking a pipe of sweet hemp". Some events may have a political nature to them, advocating for the Decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States.

University of Colorado, Boulder

A large celebration is held every year on the University of Colorado's Boulder campusmarker, with attendance reaching more than 10,000 in 2008. In 2009, it has been estimated that the crowd reached over the 10,000 attendee mark that was set in 2008. This would make CU Boulder's celebration of the hopeful legalization of marijuana one of the largest such celebrations in the United States. University police have tried various methods to prevent the gathering, including photographing students participating in the event, but the crowd has grown every year.

On April 15, 2009, the Office of the Chancellor sent an e-mail to all CU students regarding the 2009 celebration of 4/20 stating that the event would debase "the reputation of your university and degree." The CU student newspaper disagreed with the Chancellor's analysis.

No possession tickets were issued at the event.

Vancouver, British Columbia

On April 20, 2009, The police estimated 5000 people gathered around the Vancouver Art Gallerymarker to celebrate "420". The police did not attempt to make arrests.

Guelph, Ontario

The '420' gathering at the Johnson Clock Tower in the city of Guelphmarker also gains many supporters of marijuana. It is known as a peaceful protest, and students have gathered over a thousand people in its past to this event. It usually is significant because it marks the end of Final Exams, and because students leave residence right around the same time. The University of Guelphmarker does not promote this event in any way, but on the university website, a picture is shown of the time 4:20 throughout the entire day. Although not as large as Boulder, the 420 rally in Guelph is very similar.

Toronto, Ontario

Due to weather conditions (often late snowfall), the April 20th march to the provincial legislature is delayed every year until May 2, in order to coincide with the Global Marijuana March, which is a city tradition since 1999. A crowd of at least 10,000-12,000 participates each year.

New Zealand observance

In Dunedinmarker, New Zealandmarker, members of Otago NORML and some students at Otago Universitymarker meet every Wednesday and Friday at 4:20 pm under a Walnut tree on the Otago University Union Lawn to smoke cannabis in defiance of New Zealand's cannabis laws. There was considerable media and police interest in the '420' group in 2008, resulting in the arrest of a student and the issuance of trespass notices to members of the public at one of the 4:20 pm meetings. The group leader was arrested for cannabis possession at a university Market Day unrelated to the 4:20 meetings. The group celebrated their 5th anniversary on September 11, 2009.

See also


  2. What 420 Means: The True Story Behind Stoners' Favorite Number. 04/20/09. The Huffington Post
  3. Thousands at UCSC burn one to mark cannabis holiday
  4. 420 at UCSC "Gets Bigger Every Year"
  5. Earth Week in Guam
  6. Earth Week in San Diego
  7. Earth Week in Victoria, BC
  8. CU's 4/20 pot smoke-out draws crowd of 10,000 : CU News.
  9. Marijuana: University of Colorado Posts Pics of Students at Pot Rally, Offers Reward for Naming Them.
  10. Student Voice: CU owes students apology for 4/20 e-mail.
  11. No possession tickets issued during CU's 4/20 smokeout.

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