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The Origin Story of 420

From a phrase used among friends, to a worldwide holiday, MERRY JANE News investigates 420's origins.

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Cannabis culture is full of creative catchphrases and nicknames. Just look at how many names we’ve come up with as replacements for “cannabis”: weed, grass, ganja, dope, reefer, chronic, pot, bud, and that’s only to name a few. Of all of the slang and catchphrases that have been adopted by stoners, one has risen above all others; “420.”

The term has sparked a “high holiday” that brings together marijuana enthusiasts around the world on the 20th of April every year, and has made 4:20 the most popular time to toke up any day of the week.

But ask people where “420” came from, and you might get as many answers as there are strains of weed, but the term’s origins were traced back to an unusual adventure four decades ago in a little corner of the California Bay Area.

MERRY JANE News explored some of the myths behind the origins of 420, and is now able to fill you in on the people who helped take it from a phrase used among friends to a term that has become a pivotal element of cannabis culture.