Stoney Dictionary | 420





  1. 4:20 is the time of day to smoke and get stoned.
  2. 4/20 is Weed Day around the world.

Origin: The Waldos From San Rafael High School – San Rafael, California – Marin County

Example: Roll the joint. It’s almost 4:20.


There are many myths and stories about how the 420 term came to be. You may have heard it’s a police code or the number of chemicals in marijuana, but according to a 1971 High Times article Stoner Smart or Stoner Stupid by Steven Hager, the term was created by 5 San Rafael High School students known as the Waldos. They were called the Waldos because they used to hang out by a wall outside of their school.

The Waldos heard that there was a patch of cannabis plants that a Coast Guard Serviceman left behind near the Point Reyes Peninsula  Coast Guard Station. The Waldos set out to find the marijuana plants so they could score some free weed.  They met everyday at 4:20 pm to smoke out and then look for the plants. When they came across each other on campus, they’d remind each other to meet at 4:20. They never did find the plants, but the term stuck.

So how did 420 become a worldwide celebration? The Waldos used to hang out with the Grateful Dead and had access to their parties and rehearsals. There was another article in High Times in the late 90’s of a Grateful Dead concert flyer with a 420 message on the back. See photo. The Grateful Dead and their following played a huge part in spreading 420 outside of Marin County and California for many years while they toured the world.

419 Mile Sign

Here’s an interesting 420 fact. The Mile 420 sign on Denver’s Interstate 70 was stolen so many times; the Department of Transportation made a new sign: Mile 419.99. On a side note; there was a similar problem near Fort Collins, Colorado when Mile 69 kept getting stolen. It was later changed to Mile 68.5.



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