What is 420 and Why We Celebrate Cannabis on 4/20.


What is 420? You don’t have to be a cannabis connoisseur to know that April 20th (4/20 or 420) is the national holiday for celebrating all things cannabis. While smokers and non-smokers alike enjoy the festivities with their favorite products, few know the history behind the holiday, and why it’s celebrated today. 

There are many theories about the origin of 420. Some say the holiday comes from code “4-20,” which supposedly is used among police officers for “marijuana smoking in progress.” Others point to Bob Dylan’s song “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” since 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420. 

While both of those theories are interesting, they are both false. 

The Real Story of 4/20

The origins of 420 began in San Rafael, California in 1971. Five high school students at San Rafael High School would meet after school to partake in their favorite cannabis. They chose 4:20 as their meetup time since most school activities were done by that time, and most students and teachers had left campus for the day. 

The group of students, who also called themselves the “Waldos” began to use “4:20” as their code for marijuana in general. One of the Waldos, Dave Reddix eventually landed a job as a roadie for Phil Lesh, bassist for the Grateful Dead. With the band’s help and their massive cult following, the use of code “420” for marijuana started to catch on among jam band circles.

In the early 1990’s, “High Times” magazine became aware of the growing trend after seeing countless flyers from Grateful Dead shows, inviting everyone to smoke at 4:20. The magazine published some of the flyers and the use of code “420” grew and grew even more. 

4/20 Today

420 has now become an international holiday celebrating cannabis. Many advocacy groups also use the holiday to promote legalization, liberation, and cannabis reform. In many cases, these groups gather for peaceful protests and civil disobedience to pledge their dedication by consuming cannabis at 4:20pm. 

Cannabis retailers also take advantage of the holiday. Dispensaries often have their best deals and biggest specials of the year surrounding the holiday. For cannabis retailers, 4/20 is almost like Black Friday. In non-MMJ states like North Carolina, hemp-derived CBD and Delta-8 THC are hot items for retailers in 2021. 

Overall, April 20th is a day of celebration around cannabis. But, it’s also a day for awareness. As more states ease restrictions and legalize cannabis, more American citizens need to be aware of proper usage and safe consumption. 4/20 is also the perfect day to acknowledge the 40,000 Americans currently incarcerated for marijuana-related charges. 

Celebrate 4/20 Safely and Shop Local

We encourage you to celebrate 420 safely and responsibly, while raising awareness for cannabis reform. Luckily, we have tons of 420 deals and specials on our hemp, CBD and delta-8 products. Stop by our Raleigh store to take advantage of our 420 specials, or order online today. Happy 420!

Learn More About Hemp & Cannabis

Our team at Modern Apotheca is here to help. Whether you’re new to the world of hemp and cannabis, or a longtime user, we have products that can help ease your body and mind. We would love to consult with you to find the perfect product for you. Give us a call today or stop by the shop to chat with one of our specialists. We’re here to help you find the right products to meet your needs.

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