The Origins of 420: Uncovering the Legendary Culture Phenomenon

420 has become an iconic cultural phenomenon in modern society, yet many don't know where it came from or why it has such a special significance. Every year on April 20th (4/20), people worldwide come together to celebrate hemp culture, with millions showing affection for this now-renowned term.

Despite its popularity, its exact origin remains somewhat shrouded in mystery. Let's explore some historical accounts and delve into more uncommon theories about what could have sparked one of history's most influential hemp-related symbols.

Key Takeaways

  • The term "420" originated in 1971, when a group of students at San Rafael High School in Marin County, California, called the Waldos would meet at 4:20 p.m. to smoke the "herb" after school.
  • Word of what the Waldos were doing spread over time, eventually becoming associated with 420 as code for smoking and making the number iconic within hemp culture.
  • The term was popularized by flyers circulated among California community members beginning in the early 90s. Popular music references also helped carry it across other states and countries worldwide.
  • 420 has also become associated with certain national holidays, such as April 20th (4/20).

What is 420?

What is 420?

420 refers to the celebration of hemp culture annually on April 20th. The term commonly refers to the consumption, distribution, and sale of associated paraphernalia, including clothes, stickers, and other products bearing the 420 logos. It is estimated that more than 80 million people throughout North America celebrate this event each year.

The Origins of 420 and How It Spread

420, widely known as a cultural phenomenon, has a mysterious origin. Many believe it started in San Rafael, California, in 1971, with four friends looking for a "secret garden" of hemp plants. They inadvertently created a code to refer to smoking the "herb "at 4:20 p.m.

Others trace its roots back to more complicated places, such as Grateful Dead practice sessions from decades earlier. Whatever its origins may be, the 420 culture has spread far and wide around the world.

"Waldos" and the True Story of 420's Origin

"Waldos" and the True Story of 420's Origin

The most widely accepted belief traces back to San Rafael High School in Marin County, California, in 1971 when a group of students began using the phrase as shorthand while searching for a rumored lost patch of mysterious herb.

Others called this group "the Waldos" due to their chosen meeting spot at the school's wall. As word spread among California's younger crowd, 420 soon became associated with smoking culture throughout North America and the rest of the world.

Branding "420" in Popular Culture 

The hemp subculture has popularized the term "420" as a code for using and celebrating it on April 20th each year. Over the years, 420 slowly transitioned from an actual time to meet up with friends and smoke to more of a stoner holiday involving revelry, parades and festivals in many cities worldwide.

This celebration allows businesses such as restaurants, music venues, and fashion stores to market products related to this culture. They also subtly promote cannabinoid use by incorporating images or words associated with "420" into their branding or advertisements. 

420 Hemp Sales

420 Hemp Sales

Hemp has grown in popularity over the years as a versatile and sustainable crop. Its fibers make fabric, fuel, paper, and countless other products. Recently, its presence in consumer product categories such as food and dietary supplements has also increased.

Over the years, businesses have seen great success by selling hemp-derived products online, allowing them to tap into a new market with sustainable profitability potential. Mega Distribution has a 420 Hemp Sale each year. Check out our products on sale.

The Best Delta 8 Deals to Shop This 4/20

Mega Distribution offers high-quality wholesale hemp products that are expertly crafted using the latest technology and processes. We offer a wide range of Delta-8 and live resin gummies, disposables, cartridges, and more, all with premium lab-tested ingredients. Here are our top 4/20 Mega sales deals:

  • Geek'd D8 + THC-P Live Resin Gummies 20ct: These gummies contain Delta 8 and THC-P for a stronger effect, giving you an optimal cannabis experience. They are high quality, lab tested, and come in 20 ct packs.

420 Hemp Sales


420 culture is an ever-evolving phenomenon that has come to represent various events and perspectives. Its origins remain somewhat mysterious, with different theories regarding its true origin story.

While many people attribute 420's roots to the Californian music scene in the early 70s, some argue it started as part of a secret police code in Marin County. Ultimately, countless versions are associated with the history and traditions of 420 culture; each offers different interpretations of how it began.