It’s finally April! We’re headed towards warmer, springtime weather, Easter, an eco-conscious Earth Day, and of course, 4/20.
How many times have you stumbled upon the term “420-friendly”? It’s one of those terms that you come across while searching through Craigslist for a roommate, on dating apps when swiping through potential suitors, and on flyers advertising concerts, parties, and kickbacks. So, what does it mean, and where did the term even come from? Let’s explore some of the rumored origins of “420,” and how they’ve left their mark on the cannabis industry, counterculture, and even mainstream society, for decades.
One of the many speculations regarding the origin of 420 comes from Bob Dylan’s line “Everybody must get stoned” in the song “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35.” Since 12 x 35 = 420, the Bob Dylan theory still remains a favorite among conspiracy theorists today. Another popular theory suggests that 420 is police code for cannabis smoking in progress, and another, which has been proven incorrect, claims that 420 represents the number of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. Others have tried to pin the root of 420 back to tea time in Holland, a notoriously 420-friendly city.
What it Really Means
Turns out, the truth of 420’s roots trace back to the early 1970s and a group of San Rafael High School students who called themselves The Waldos. The Waldos would meet up for their daily roll-up near a wall on campus or by a statue of Louis Pasteur, just outside of their high school. Each week, they’d conduct a thorough search by following a treasure map, for an abandoned cannabis plant whose original owner could no longer tend to their crop.
The Waldos initially began using “420” to remind each other of their after-practice meetups in the hallway during high school but eventually started using the term as an extension of their language, to ask one another if they were carrying cannabis or to check to make sure that they didn’t look too high in public.
The Waldos had close connections to The Grateful Dead and were frequently backstage or nearby, using the phrase that they coined. The term slowly gained momentum, but during Christmas time at a Grateful Dead show in 1990, then High Times reporter, Steven Bloom, took note of a flyer handed to him by a fellow Dead Head reading, “We are going to meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais.” Bloom submitted the flyer to the Huffington Post, and once High Times backed the story, the term was elevated to a global scale.
Today, the Waldos have memorabilia including a tie-dyed 420 flag, a newspaper clipping quoting one of the members simply saying “4-20,” and postmarked letters referencing the term over and over again, proving their involvement with the term, locked away for super safe-keeping in San Francisco.
References in Pop Culture
Throughout history, references to 420 have appeared throughout pop culture as an “Easter egg” or hidden message. For example, the 1982 film Fast Times at Ridgemont High features Sean Penn as Jeff Spicoli, a high school cannabis enthusiast and surfer. In one scene, the football team takes a win with a closing score of 42-0. In the famous movies Lost in Translation and Pulp Fiction, the clocks on-set were notoriously set to 4:20 pm. In Mad Men, Sterling Cooper’s memorable American Airlines pitch meeting took place on April 20th, with a cannabis consumption scene appearing in the season just a few episodes later. Additional 420 moments have been created by contestants on The Price is Right and have been spotted in cartoons like Rocko’s Modern Life.
420 In the Law
In 2003, California Senate Bill 420, otherwise known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act, was introduced to clarify Proposition 215 — defining regulations for both the home grow and the amount of processed cannabis patients were allowed to possess.
Emerging out of the 420 shadow, comes 710, another 3 character term used to describe cannabis in a more concealed way. If you turn the number 710 upside down, it spells out “oil,” representing a multitude of dabbable, vapable cannabis concentrates. Just how folks gather to celebrate 420 on April 20th, you bet there are 710 celebrations in communities throughout the world on July 10th, as well.
Now that you have all your 420 history down, how will you choose to celebrate? OLO offers four distinct user experiences supported by our team of biochemists, neuroscientists, psychologists, and strain hunters. We have run over 450 consumer tests to develop the perfect blend of cannabinoids and terpenes, complimenting environments that could use an extra touch of chill, active, social, or focus. By using OLO sublingual cannabis strips, you’re able to medicate discreetly and on-the-go, that way, your 4/20 celebration waits for nothing and nobody.
Our sublingual cannabis strips come in handy 5 and 10 mg formulas, so you can fully customize each experience into a predictable, comfortable moment of exploration. OLO sublingual cannabis strips are minty, vegan, non-GMO, and lab tested to ensure quality and potency. Through sublingual technology, we’re able to bypass the blood-brain barrier for a quicker, more efficient onset time. Say goodbye to waiting 2+ hours for an edible to kick in!
Follow along on Instagram this month as we display “4 ways to 420,” our comprehensive guide to enjoying this high holy holiday in whichever way makes you happiest. If you want to continue your 420 celebration even after April has ended, keep in mind that it’s 4:20 somewhere, at least twice a day. Make it count. Get OLO.