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420 (drug culture)

The number 420 commonly carries some importance in cannabis culture. As with any socially taboo subject, a large amount of urban legend surrounds the origin of this term. According to Snopes.com (http://www.snopes.com) and The Straight Dope (http://www.straightdope.com), the true origin is that in the early 1970s a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California used to meet every day to smoke marijuana after school at 4:20 PM. The time became a code word for the drug, and usage spread. 4:20 PM has since become a popular time to "smoke out."

Many believe that the number is a police numeric code for a drug bust (California Highway Patrol radio code for marijuana possession with intent to distribute is code 420). Another rumor is that there were, at one time, believed to be 420 chemicals in marijuana. Another legend is that April 20th, or 4-20, is the last day on which one is supposed to plant cannabis seeds. There are even other, more bizarre, theories alluding to H. P. Lovecraft's Call of Cthulhu, and that The Beatles' "Come Together" is 4 minutes and 20 seconds long.

Wherever the term came from, there are many coincedental instances of its use. Today many people who smoke marijuana use 420 to symbolize their desire to smoke. In 1994, classified ads in the Santa Cruz Sentinel[?] for "Housing to share" began reading as:

Rm avail Veggie household. 420. No pets M pref

Hardcore smokers smoke-out at 4:20 AM, claiming that 4:20 PM is actually 16:20 (military time).

"Hey, it's 420" or "420 dude" are common expressions.



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