BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — April 20 and marijuana? What exactly is the connection?
There have been many theories, such as 4/20 being the signal code police use when responding to a call involving people smoking marijuana or that there are 420 cannabinoids produced in the cannabis plant.
After a quick search, both theories turn out to be false.
Employees at Near to Me Dispensary in Birmingham collectively agreed that a story involving five men from California is where the association originated.
Phillip Reagan, a cashier at the store, said the men would gather at 4:20 p.m. every day after school to smoke marijuana and would use the term “4-20” to remind one another of the meeting.
The group, known as the Waldos, were students at San Rafael High School in 1971. They would indeed meet at a statue on campus every day and later revealed to a reporter at TIME that they were the “inventors” of 4/20.
“Since school got out at 3:10, and since some of the Waldos had afterschool activities that lasted approximately one hour, someone decided that they should meet at exactly 4:20 p.m.,” the special edition TIME article read.
Steve Capper, a member of the group, said “We reminded each other about the meeting during the day by saluting each other in the halls and saying ‘4/20 Louie.'”
It is believed that the term became known worldwide because of the band Grateful Dead.
In a second interview with TIME, another Waldo named Dave Reddix explained that his older brother had helped him secure a job with the band. The band and those associated used the term when referring to activities involving marijuana, helping to popularize it even more.
As of April 2022, 18 states have legalized the recreational use of marijuana. 37 states, including Alabama, have legalized the medical use of cannabis.