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A History of Celebrating 420 + 6 Ways to Spend The Holiday

We’ve all heard the term, “It’s five o’clock somewhere,” but what about 4:20? We turned to Wikipedia to get to the root of where the “420” stoner reference originated.

Legend has it that the number 420 first became associated with cannabis in the 1970s when five California high school students who called themselves “The Waldos” would meet at 4:20 p.m. to search for an abandoned cannabis crop. They used a treasure map provided by the supposed grower, and while their hunts were never fruitful, the term “420” stuck. 

Four-twenty became a world-renowned pot-smoking phrase after one of The Waldos, Dave Reddix, became a roadie for the Grateful Dead. They declared 4:20 p.m. as the acceptable time to smoke weed, and Grateful Dead followers helped to popularize the term.  

A rolled marijuana joint half burnt, isolated on white.

In 1991, High Times Magazine referenced the term “420” for the first time, and Journalist Steven Hager wrote a feature piece about The Waldos in 1998. 

April 20, a.k.a. 4/20, is now a popular counterculture holiday. It’s an occasion when stoners gather together to pass the peace pipe as well as advocate for the legalization of marijuana. 

Today, the spirit of 4/20 is alive and well. Here are five ways to celebrate.

1. Visit a legal state

As 4/20/22 approached, Max Juhasz, founder of Frisco-based Cannabiz Marketing Solutions, planned to celebrate by traveling to a state where cannabis is legal, like Colorado or New Mexico. 

“We can have a good old time without worrying about the nonsense,” he said. “It’s going to be a blast.”

2. Find a cannabis sale

Juhasz also shared that one of his clients in Oregon, Plain Jane, planned to have a special 4/20 sale on its hemp and CBD products.

“We usually have a huge party and celebrate,” he said. “If we can, we like to get all the farmers, growers and other people in the industry and celebrate all that we have done to help bring cannabis awareness and legalization to almost two-thirds of the country.”

3. Set out on a long road trip

This year, travel writer and marijuana enthusiast Hail Groo chose 4/20 as the day to embark on a weeks-long road trip across the western and southern United States, as well as western Canada, to explore the cannabis laws in each area.

“As someone who relies on CBD and medical marijuana and is a social media cannabis influencer, it’s essential to know the laws every place I go,” Groo said. “I’ll be walking my followers through the differences in each location, how I’m able to legally manage my disabilities and still have a great time as a solo traveler.”

Groo invites everyone to follow her journey via Instagram, where she goes by @the.cannabis.nerd.

A rolled marijuana joint half burnt, isolated on white.

4. Lounge around with friends

While 4/20 is just another day for many stoners, some people see it as a special occasion to parkake. Hannah Pierce, a media executive at Luciding, said the holiday has become an annual tradition.

“My partner and I aren’t really weed people, that is except for the 20th of April: the one day a year we let our hair down, go to a friend’s house and get high,” Pierce said. 

Pierce admitted she was nervous the first time she tried weed, but since the plant is now legal in her state, she decided to give it a go when she was invited to a 4/20 party by friends. 

“It felt like the perfect place to experiment and try it out whilst being surrounded by safe people in a safe environment. Since then, we’ve gone to that house every year, and every year it’s a great time. Everyone brings a ton of food, we vote on a ridiculous or crappy movie, and we lounge around in pajamas smoking and laughing all night. It’s amazing!”

5. Try Delta-8

Spencer Beaudreault, founder of Hero Brands, said he was going to “chill out with our 20mg Delta-8 gummies” on 4/20.


Delta 8 is a cannabinoid like CBD. However, unlike CBD, Delta 8 causes euphoric effects like traditional cannabis. While Beaudreault launched his business to promote plants over pills, his website cautions users to “start low and go slow,” as the gummies can take one to two hours to take effect. 

6. Use caution

Chicago attorney Clyde Guilamo has a warning for those that live in states like Texas where recreational marijuana use is not legal. 

“Be careful on the drive home, as some states allow police to search your car based on the odor of cannabis,” he said. Guilamo shares more on his YouTube channel, Law Talk for Non-Lawyers.

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