What Does it Mean to Celebrate 4/20 in 2019?

Back in the day 4/20 was an underground holiday and a way to know who is a stoner and who wasn’t. Asking someone if they were “4/20 friendly” was the easiest way to determine if they were someone who smokes weed or not. In recent years the stoner holiday has become more and more mainstream – everyone seems to know about it and everyone seems to celebrate it, protests are held annually to advocate for cannabis legalization – but how did it all get started, and what does it really mean to celebrate 4/20 in 2019?

The Origin of 420

First, we must make sure that we know the true origin of 420 and how it became synonymous with cannabis culture. Back in 1971 a group of teenagers from San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California started calling themselves “the Waldos.” The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the school campus as their meeting place, and 4:20 was their meeting time – originally referred to as “4:20 Louis.”

After meeting up, the group would go off in search of a supposed abandoned cannabis crop – based on a treasure map made by the supposed grower. Eventually “4:20 Louis” was shortened to just “4:20” as we know it today – but it was a High Times writer that brought things to “cult-like” extremes, creating the unofficial international holiday we know today as “4/20.”

What 4/20 Has Become

Since 4/20 became code for cannabis consumption it quickly gained popularity, becoming the official “time” and “date” of the cannabis community. It became the day of rallies and protests around the United States and around the world – with many annual events like Hempfest and the High Times Cannabis Cup as well as concerts and much more joining the wave of celebration for the outlawed plant.

In recent years 4:20 has been used in many ways to symbolize cannabis use and the freedom and right we should have to consume the herb. Sit in’s at Washington D.C., lighting joints on federal grounds at exactly 4:20 on 4/20, all displays of civil disobedience that are meant to get a point across.

The Unofficial Holiday Thrives in 2019

This year, with 10 states and the District of Columbia (Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Maine, California, Massachusetts, Michigan and Vermont), having legalized cannabis for adult consumption, it should be no surprise that the holiday isn’t going anywhere. If anything, there will be more people taking off work to enjoy the holiday than ever – and those in places where it remains illegal, chances are there is a protest or rally happening where you can make your stance on legalization known.

Jillian Nelson