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'Truth or Dare'

The Origin of 4:20 in Smoking Culture: When the Clock Strikes Fun

Updated: Jun 17

Picture this: a group of high school friends in California, back in the 1970s, wanted a secret code to meet up after school to search for a hidden stash of cannabis. Little did they know that their secret code would spark a worldwide phenomenon in cannabis culture. In this blog, we'll embark on a journey to discover the origins, spread, and significance of "4:20" in the world of cannabis.

The Birth of 4:20

So what is 4:20? Our story begins with a bunch of friends called the "Waldos," who cleverly coined the term "4:20." It was their secret language to plan after-school adventures in search of a hidden treasure - a cannabis crop. They gathered near a statue of Louis Pasteur at 4:20 PM, ready for their quest. This secret code soon caught on among their friends, marking the start of something big.

Raw labeled joint

Passing the Joint to the Grateful Dead

The Waldos' connection to the legendary rock band, the Grateful Dead, helped spread "4:20" like wildfire. One of the original Waldos had ties to the band, and "4:20" quickly became a part of the Deadhead culture. The Grateful Dead's widespread influence meant the term gained popularity in no time.

From Code Word to Cannabis Culture Symbol

"4:20" outgrew its origins as a secret meeting time and evolved into a symbol of cannabis culture. It's a universal way for cannabis enthusiasts to come together and celebrate their shared love for the plant. When the clock strikes 4:20 PM, it's a call for unity and a reminder of the thriving cannabis community.

The 4/20 Holiday

April 20th, or 4/20, became an unofficial holiday for cannabis lovers worldwide. On this day, people celebrate cannabis, advocate for its legalization, and raise awareness about its benefits. Festivals, events, and gatherings galore take place on 4/20, making it a day of unity and celebration in the cannabis world.

42o origin

The Impact of 4:20

"4:20" has had a massive impact on cannabis culture. It's a symbol of togetherness, activism, and celebration within the cannabis community. As more places legalize cannabis for medical and recreational use, "4:20" continues to grow in significance.

Fast forward to today, and 4:20 is like the Super Bowl halftime show for the smoking community. It's that golden time on the clock when you take a break from life's hustle and bustle to light one up with friends. Whether you're passing a joint, hitting a bong, or enjoying the sleekness of a vape, 4:20 is a universal moment of togetherness for stoners.


The story of "4:20" is an enchanting journey from a secret code among friends to a global symbol of unity, celebration, and advocacy within the cannabis culture. So, when the clock strikes 4:20, remember the rich history and the worldwide community it represents in the world of cannabis. It's not just a time; it's a celebration of a shared love for the plant we all hold dear.

Don't forget to check out MadKush and our newest addition Mad420 if you're looking for ways to spice up your 4:20s!

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