420 The Origin Theories

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There seems to be no shortage of articles on the internet about the origins of “420”; Personally I am of the mind that every day is 420…especially at 4:20 p.m and 4:20 a.m. if you’re awake …. and if you are reading this here, then you most likely agree with that sentiment.

However, I can’t say in my 35 years plus using cannabis that I have ever purposely medicated simply because it was 4:20 a.m. or p.m. Many times and coincidentally enough I have noticed that it just happens to be 4:20 am or pm before I medicate (which always gives me a mental chuckle at least)…So, I can’t say it holds any true value for me personally…

As one living in our modern world could expect, there are multiple theories lingering out there on the interweb regarding the origins of this cannabis “holiday”  and we’ll go over a few of those….The most likely story involving The Waldos even in its most clarified form, is dubious at best, revolves around an American Highschool, Cannabis smuggling, shipwrecks, lost treasure, and of all things,  the Grateful Dead…but we’ll get to that…In the end they ARE ALL THEORIES and really none can be proven for sure…But that’s what’s so wonderful about a story or a legend like this…

The Theories…

Bob Dylan 420 Theory:

Blonde on Blonde (the first double album in rock history) released by Bob Dylan in 1965 (and one of my personal favorites) is the subject of this 420 theory, specifically the first song Rainy Day Women #12 & 35. When multiplied 12 x 35 equals 420; interesting no? especially when you consider that the lyrics of the song are as follows:

Well, they’ll stone you when you’re trying to be so goodThey’ll stone you just like they said they wouldThey’ll stone you when you’re trying to go homeAnd they’ll stone you when you’re there all aloneBut I would not feel so all aloneEverybody must get stoned
Well, they’ll stone you when you’re walking on the streetThey’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to keep your seatThey’ll stone you when you’re walkin’ on the floorThey’ll stone you when you’re walkin’ to the doorBut I would not feel so all aloneEverybody must get stoned
They’ll stone you when you’re at the breakfast tableThey’ll stone you when you are young and ableThey’ll stone you when you’re tryin’ to make a buckThen they’ll stone you and then they’ll say “good luck”Tell ya what, I would not feel so all aloneEverybody must get stoned
Well, they’ll stone you and say that it’s the endThen they’ll stone you and then they’ll come back againThey’ll stone you when you’re riding in your carThey’ll stone you when you’re playing your guitarYes, but I would not feel so all aloneEverybody must get stoned alright
Well, they’ll stone you when you walk all aloneThey’ll stone you when you are walking homeThey’ll stone you and then say you are braveThey’ll stone you when you are set down in your graveBut I would not feel so all aloneEverybody must get stoned

I think this theory is about as good as it gets personally speaking. Not only do I consider this record to be one of the best Dylan works ever…it does indeed come out to 420. I mean, I’m just sayin’…But Bob Dylan has never confirmed this…as if that offers any proof one way or the other….Let’s move on…

The LSD 420 Theory:

The inventor of LSD, Swiss Scientist Albert Hoffman self-experimented with the first dose of LSD administered to a human on what is known to many as Bicycle Day since the trip took effect while riding his bicycle home. The funny thing is that he dosed himself at 4:20pm in the afternoon. 
The other funny thing is that it is true at least the time of the dosing. Is it the origin of 420, most likely not.

The Bob Marley 420 Theories:

#1 Some say that 420 is named after Bob Marley’s Birthday. 
Bob Marley’s Birthday was Feb. 6th, 1945, not April 20th 1945. So, no this is definitely not the origin of 420.

#2 Some also say “But wait a minute it isn’t his Birthday it’s his Death date April 20, 1981…again not true; Bob Marley Died May 11th, 1981 not April 20th.
Check out his bio here

The California Penal Code 420 Theory:

Many have thought that the California Penal Code for Possession of Cannabis is “420”. This is also false since no one has ever been able to find any data that this is remotely true; the code is actually 11357, not 420. The California Penal Code for Cannabis Possession can be found here

The Chemicals in Weed 420 Theory:

The theory states that there are 420 active chemicals in cannabis including THC and CBD. This is false, there are over 500 active chemicals in cannabis.

The Adolph Hitler 420 Theory:

Clearly conceived by someone who doesn’t particularly care for our kind: those of us who find many benefits ingesting THC. Yes he was born on April 20th 1889, but so were all these people LINK

And no he doesn’t deserve a photo…This theory is not only false, but insulting and ridiculous…so, yeah.

The Cannabis Planting 420 Theory:

Supposedly the best day of the year to plant cannabis outdoors…There is just no evidence to support this.

The HP Lovecraft 420 Theory:

Infamous and legendary Sci-Fi Horror Author, HP Lovecraft is sometimes thought to be connected to 420. He lived and wrote in obscurity but hardly a sci-fi or horror tale is brought to the screen without it being influenced in some way by Lovecraft. In his work “In the Walls of Eryx” Lovecraft states the following:

“I had encountered at last one of those curious mirage-plants about which so many of our men told stories. Anderson had warned me of them, and described their appearance very closely—the shaggy stalk, the spiky leaves, and the mottled blossoms whose gaseous, dream-breeding exhalations penetrate every existing make of mask. … Gradually the dancing lights began to disappear, and the shimmering spectral scenery began to assume the aspect of solidity. When I did get wholly clear I looked at my watch and was astonished to find that the time was only 4:20. Though eternities had seemed to pass, the whole experience could have consumed little more than a half-hour.”

I’m really liking this one, simply out of appreciation for Lovecraft..and the simple strangeness of it. But, alas, most likely not true.

The Waldos 420 Theory:

This is the most likely origin and hey they have proof, at least some.
So the story goes like this:
A group of Highschool stoners in California in the 1970s (can you believe it?). They had met a Coast Guardsman who related a story of a confiscated but missing shipment of weed. Being adventurous they decided to meet every day at 4:20 to look for it. There is a version of this story that says they were looking for a plant. 

Eventually over time one of the members of the Waldos, became a roadie for The Grateful Dead. The story was related to the band who helped to popularize the story. The Waldo’s recently have been able to locate and interview the mythic Coast Guardsman, Gary Phillip. As you can imagine they have a website and I’ll let them tell the story HERE


I personally like the Blonde on Blonde theory but I suppose I would have to yield to the heap of proof that the Waldos seem to be able to produce. 
To be fair it is also a cool story. And like I said, the truth may never be known and that’s ok….oh and also that everyday is 420 so enjoy this one.
And check out some 420 shirt here