Marijuana Story: Origin of “420 Day”


Marijuana is once again a hot topic as the New Zealand cannabis referendum approaches. The cannabis referendum would take place on Saturday, October 17, and New Zealanders will decide whether or not recreational cannabis use should be decriminalized in the country. It’s a battle that is currently being fought around the world, with countries such as the United States already voting to legalize its use in a number of states.

The United States has a long history of celebrating marijuana use, with “stoner culture” and marijuana-related events gaining popularity and influence in the country. One of these events that may soon be legally celebrated in New Zealand is “420 Day”. It’s an annual day (April 20) when marijuana smokers from around the world come together to get high.

While the event is fairly well known, the origin of the word “420” is hard to find. There are various theories as to why this day is associated with marijuana, and the general consensus is that the term was founded at the height of the marijuana craze in the 1970s. According to some reports, 420 was a code used by local police in California to describe an ongoing marijuana smoking incident. This code was subsequently adopted by marijuana smokers.

But there’s another story, reported to be the ‘true’ origin of 420.

Uncovered by Huffington Post, This story is about a group of friends who got together and found a mysterious crop of marijuana in a California forest.

As the story goes, in 1971, a group of five San Rafael High School students heard word of an untended marijuana crop near the Coast Guard Station on the Point Reyes Peninsula. In order to hunt for the legendary crop, the boys met after school at 4:20 p.m. – a time they would repeat to each other in the school halls as a reminder.

Their hunt was reportedly unsuccessful, but the boys continued to meet at 4:20 p.m. for a few weeks. After a while, their code word became an abbreviation of marijuana itself with friends, as well as friends of friends, shared the joke. As the hippie culture grew in California, the word quickly spread and 420 went down in history. Since then, the phrase has been used to describe and celebrate marijuana use around the world.

While it’s important to take this story with a grain of salt, it’s a wild and daring tale of adventure and friendship. It’s also a good one to explain.

The results of New Zealand’s cannabis referendum will be announced at the end of October. It remains to be seen if they will be able to celebrate 420 days in April 2021.

For more information on marijuana, refer to

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