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Cannabis Trivia: 420 Cannabis Pop Culture

420 Cannabis Trivia EpicHint

In celebration of the 420 cannabis holiday we created an EpicHint Trivia sesh that includes 420 History, questions about well-known cannabis songs by well-known pro ganja cannabis celebrities. If you want an epic hint here’s the history of how 420 came to be…

The Story of 420 Starts with Five Friends and a Cannabis Treasure Map

The lore behind 420 starts in 1971 with a group of five high school friends at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California. These friends were known as the “Waldos” as their hangout spot was a wall outside of their high school. In the Fall of 1971 the Waldos heard that a Coast Guard Service member could no longer tend his harvest of cannabis plants near Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station. The Waldos couldn’t let the harvest go to waste. They decided they would find the cannabis and enjoy some free bud. With a map to cannabis treasure in hand the five friends began a search that would result in a global phenomenon.

The First 420 Reference

The Waldos were all high school athletes, they needed their hunt for the untended cannabis harvest they heard about to not raise flags with parents or teachers. They decided to meet at a statue of Louis Pasteur outside their high school at 4:20, after practice. The friends would remind each other in the halls “ 4:20-Louis”. Their first hunts for the cannabis harvest were unsuccessful but they were hopeful and persistent, they kept hunting. After time their “4:20-Louis” reminders eventually shortened to just “4:20”. To them, “4:20” was a code reminder to not forget about their treasure hunt for cannabis.

4:20 pm Cannabis Treasure Hunts and Smoke Seshes

A member of the Waldos, the five cannabis treasure hunting friends, Waldo Steve, told the Huffington Post “ The first forays out were unsuccessful, but the group kept looking for the hidden crop. “We’d meet at 4:20 and get in my old ‘66 Chevy Impala and, of course, we’d smoke instantly and smoke all the way out to Pt. Reyes and smoke the entire time we were out there. We did it week after week. We never actually found the patch.” While the Waldos didn’t find the cannabis treasure they were searching for they did unearth a useful codeword that teachers and parents didn’t know about! In his interview with the Huffington Post, Waldo Steve said they would drop “420” in place of saying “Hey, do you wanna go smoke some?” or “Do you have any?” or “Are you stoned right now?” The Waldo’s code phrase “4:20” paired with their repeated smoke seshes and hunts for cannabis at “4:20” created a groove in cannabis culture. This groove would grow into a global cultural phenomenon with a little help from one of the most famous bands of all time.

420 Spreads from Friends to Rock and Roll

How do high school kids, in the 70’s, with no social media make the term “420” a global phenomenon? The answer is – The Grateful Dead! According to the Huffington Post, “Mark Waldo’s father took care of real estate for the Dead. And Waldo Dave’s older brother, Patrick, managed a Dead sideband and was good friends with bassist Phil Lesh. Waldo Patrick smoked with Lesh on numerous occasions…The Waldos had open access to Dead parties and rehearsals. ‘We’d go with [Mark’s] dad, who was a hip dad from the ‘60s,’ says Waldo Steve. There was a place called Winterland and we’d always be backstage running around or onstage and, of course, we’re using those phrases. When somebody passes a joint or something, ‘Hey, 420.’ So it started spreading through that community.” It was the rumor of an untended cannabis harvest, multiple cannabis treasure hunts paired with smoke seshes, a cool dad that let his kids smoke with his musical client, the unforeseen fact that the musical client, The Grateful Dead, would grow into one of the most popular bands of all time, and the adoption of “420” for smoke seshes during band practice and parties, that all laid the foundation for the “420” cultural cannabis phenomenon.

How 420 Spread Across the Globe

As the Grateful Dead toured the globe through the ‘70s and ‘80s, playing hundreds of shows a year – the term ‘420’ spread through the Dead underground. Once High Times heard and printed it, the magazine helped take ‘420’ global. By the early ‘90s, ‘420’ had penetrated deep enough that Waldo Dave and Waldo Steve started “hearing people use it in unexpected places – Ohio, Florida, Canada – and spotted it painted on signs and etched into park benches.” In the ‘70’s five friends, aka “The Waldos”, went repeatedly searching for a Coast Guard’s untended cannabis harvest at 4:20 pm. Their repeated searches and smoke seshes unexpectedly lit a match that would light a cultural fire around the world for the cannabis community! Now, put that 420 cannabis pop culture history in your pipe and smoke it!