Why Is It 420?

Whether you use marijuana as medicine or because you prefer its effects to alcohol or other drugs, you may be wondering why 420 is honored by those in the cannabis culture.

Is it because:

It’s Tea Time in the Netherlands: well no, while the Dutch enjoy tea time as much as the British do, tea may be served anytime in the afternoon between 1pm and 5pm.


It's the number of chemical compounds in the venerable plant: close but no spliff - at least 60 cannabinoids and 100 terpenes have been identified.


It’s police radio-code for marijuana laws being violated: Hmmm, while it sounds logical, no one has specifically identified what law enforcement agency uses it.


It’s a reference to the chorus of “Rainy Day Women #12 and 35” (“everybody must get stoned”): 12 X 35 = 420, but that's just synchronicity for you.


It’s Bob Marley’s birthday: nope he was born on February 6, 1945.


The true story of 420 began in San Rafael, CA in the 1970’s with a group of high schools who called themselves the Waldos - they used it to signal that they would meet up after practice to hunt for a treasure: cannabis plants growing in the Point Reyes Forest near their school.


Fun 420 legislative factoids:

California Senate Bill 420 established California’s medical marijuana program in 2003.


HR420 Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act introduced by Ed Blumenauer of Oregon and 

S420 Marijuana Revenue and Regulation Act introduced by Ron Wyden of Oregon (both introduced in 2019) would have removed marijuana from the list of controlled substances and established requirements for the taxation and regulation of marijuana products if they had passed.



Have some fun this 420 - even though you can’t get out to a real 420 celebration, you can check out some videos on YouTube or maybe a book or two:

Jack Herer - The Emperor of Hemp:


Reefer Madness: 


Making Peace With Cannabis - TED Talk with Zachary Walsh: 


If you haven’t watched it yet, check out our April Board Chat:


Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana - Medical, Recreational, and Scientific

by Martin A. Lee:


The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer, Jeff Meyers,Leslie Cabarga:


  1. Celebrate 4/20 all month long by participating in our 4/20 Membership Drive. After all - what better time to organize our friends to help us in our cannabis reform mission! We recognize that this is a time of great financial uncertainty for too many people, so we understand that donating money may be difficult. Please keep reading for other ways to support the movement to legalize. https://www.ncnorml.org/become-a-member/
  2. Share the link above to encourage your network of friends to join as well.
  3. Please sign and share our petition for legal cannabis in NC: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/legalize-cannabis-in-north-carolina/
  4. Our search for folks to join our leadership team, including chairing current working committees and/or serving on the Board will close at 8:00 PM on Monday, April 20th - the application can be accessed here

As always:

- Sign up at www.ncnorml.org/get-involved/ so we can reach you with specific information on your representatives.

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