The 420 meaning means many things to many people. Most see the 420 meaning as a symbol for National Weed Day. There is still debate on how this day, and these numbers, became symbols for pot however. But no matter how it happened, today is a landmark in pot culture, and thousands will be lighting up in honor of it. Yet today isn’t just about marijuana and having fun – far from it for some. In fact, thanks to certain violent acts, and infamous people, the 420 meaning is quite different for others.
Even before National Weed Day, April 20th was an infamous milestone. Today is Adolf Hitler’s birthday, which is only celebrated today by neo-Nazis. For the rest of the world, this date was the first stepping stone towards the horrors of WWII, most of which Hitler caused.
It took a few decades for the 420 meaning to change, due to pot smokers. The origins of how they made April 20th theirs is still in question, but it may trace to the early 70s. In 1971, five friends in San Rafael High School allegedly came to the Point Reyes forest, to find a marijuana crop a Coast Guard member left behind.
The ‘Waldos’ went out at 4:20, and then supposedly used the numbers as a code word for pot. Although this may not have happened on April 20th, the code came to define the culture. Now the 420 meaning has become a code for National Weed Day, held every April 20th. As such, the Waldos’ code is now no longer hard to break.
To smokers and pro-pot activists, the 420 meaning is to honor pot, and to protest how authorities have demonized it. They may regard marijuana arrests as a tragedy – but it isn’t the real tragedy of the day.
Until 1999, the most infamy around April 20th was that it was Hitler’s birthday. That changed with the Columbine massacre, which happened 11 years ago today. Although the subculture regards this as a day about pot, much of America associates today with Columbine.
Today’s Columbine memories come right after the nation mourned the anniversaries of Waco and Oklahoma City. April 19th and 20th are two of the most infamous back-to-back days of the year, since so much violence happened on those dates. As such, it is a wonder that the 420 meaning of pot and getting high still defines April 20th for so many. For others, it is not a date to celebrate.
However, April 19th is also one of contradictions, since Boston has fun celebrating Patriots Day while others mourn Waco and Oklahoma City. Boston sees April 19th as the day the American Revolution started, in spite of the other tragedy attached to it. In that vein, pot smokers still see the 420 meaning as something good, in spite of other awful events on this date.