420 is the day people around the world celebrate their love of smoking marijuana.

420 is the day people around the world celebrate their love of smoking marijuana.
Image via Pixabay

‘420’: What does it mean, and who celebrates it?

Happy 420! Here is the significance behind the modern-day phrase and why people around the world celebrate the unique day.

420 is the day people around the world celebrate their love of smoking marijuana.

420 is the day people around the world celebrate their love of smoking marijuana.
Image via Pixabay

If you’ve seen the numbers “420” trending on Twitter as well as tweeps wishing each other a “Happy 420”, you’re probably wondering what’s going on…

But whilst the number is a play on today’s date, it’s not what you think. The phrase “420” is actually a nickname for marijuana, and is celebrated on 20 April (ie 4/20) around the world.

HOW THE PHRASE WAS COINED

According to Steve Hager, a former editor of the marijuana-focused news outlet High Times, the phrase was coined by a group of high school students in the 1970s.

The students would smoke marijuana at 16:20 (4:20pm) every day, and eventually jokingly labelled their daily routine “420”.

According to Vox, the ritual spread, and soon 420 became code for smoking marijuana. Eventually it was converted into 4/20 for calendar purposes, and the day of celebration was born.

Other 420 origin theories include the belief that the number is the California police or penal code for marijuana. However, there’s no evidence to support those claims. Another, is that there are reportedly 420 active chemicals in marijuana, of which scientists claim is in fact, much higher.

Lesser-known theories include:

  • Authors H.P. Lovecraft and Kenneth Sterling of the short story In the Walls of Eryx describe a “curious mirage-plants” in which the narrator appeared to get the narrator high off. According to the time in the story, it’s around 4:20.
  • A Bob Dylan song called Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 (12x 35 = 420) in which he sings about getting “stoned”.
  • 16:20 (or 4:20) is standard tea-time in The Netherlands, of which the capital city is Amsterdam, the “Mecca” of cannabis use.

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CELEBS WHO CELEBRATE 420

Over the years, the smoking of marijuana has moved past recreational purposes to medicinal ones. In fact, the “cannabis craze” has become a lucrative industry with many businesses profiting off the popular herb and its euphoria-inducing properties.

A number of celebs have also advocated their proud use of the drug. Those celebrating the day of “420” include Snoop Dogg, Seth Rogen, Miley Cyrus, Mike Tyson and many more.