Although most respectable folks are probably unaware of it, marijuana abusers have developed their own culture over the years. United by this culture, as well as their love for their brain-numbing herb, hemp-heads communicate with one another through jargon and weird shibboleths.
If you’re not a dirty stoner, you can perhaps be forgiven for not knowing that today, April 20, is a special day for devotees of cannabis culture. The significance of the date is derived from the number 420 (e.g., the 20th day of the 4th month), which is of special significance to the dissipated ranks of weed warriors.
It’s likely that almost every cheeba-monkey you’ll meet will claim to know the significance of this number. Any claim to certainty is false. There are several theories–some more likely than others–as to the origins of 420, none of which has ever been proven conclusively.
The explanations are vast, stemming from the easy-to-debunk, such as the notion that 420 is police code for a drug violation, to the credible, that 4:20 roughly coincides with British Tea Time. However, the most commonly accepted explanation traces the word’s origins back to San Rafael, California high school students in 1971, who would meet after class at 4:20 to indulge their addiction.
The most insidious thing about the date 4-20 is that it gives stoners a veneer of respectability and self-control. Making such a visual show of their reefer madness on this day gives an innocent public the erroneous notion that dopers refrain from smoking until 4.20, rather than the shocking truth, that it’s more like 24-7.