WNAW AM logo
Get our free mobile app

There are  rumors of how 420 came to be, Some say “420” is code among police officers for “marijuana smoking in progress.” Some note 4/20 is also Adolf Hitler’s birthday. And some go as far as to cite Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” because 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420.

Those rumors of the history behind how April 20, and 4/20, got associated with marijuana are false.

So what is the real start of 420? Well, many media sites and magazines from Time Magazine to APP say this is the most credible explanation. The story traces 4/20 to Marin County, Calif. In 1971, five students at San Rafael High School would meet at 4:20 p.m. by the campus’ statue of chemist Louis Pasteur to partake.

They chose that specific time because extracurricular activities had usually ended by then. The group which consisted of Steve Capper, Dave Reddix, Jeffrey Noel, Larry Schwartz, and Mark Gravich became known as the “Waldos” because they met at a wall. They used “420” with each other as a code for marijuana.

420 Waldos/Youtube

The Waldos have their own website which also goes into the history and documented proof, also interviews they did with different newspapers, tv news & other media sources.

Later, Reddix’s brother helped Dave get work with Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh as a roadie, and 420 took off from there with the help of the Grateful Dead who helped popularize the term “420.”

On Dec. 28, 1990, a group of Deadheads in Oakland handed out flyers that invited people to smoke “420” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m. One ended up with Steve Bloom, a former reporter for High Times magazine, an authority on cannabis culture.

The magazine High Times printed the flyer in 1991 and continued to reference the number. Soon, it became known worldwide as code for marijuana. In 1998, the outlet acknowledged that the “Waldos” were the “inventors” of 420.

LOOK: 15 Discontinued McDonald's Menu Items


LOOK: Here are copycat recipes from 20 of the most popular fast food restaurants in America

More From WNAW AM