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Happy holiday! Even the most challenged mathlete among us knows that on this week falls 4/20, AKA Stoner Christmas. But why 4/20? What mystical connection does this number have to cannabis? Grab a mop to clean up your mind, because I’m about to blow it.

But first, let’s clear a few things up. What 4/20 is not? Any of the following bullshit. I’m not sure how anyone came to the conclusion that it was, but maybe they were high. Some of these do seem like the type of thing concocted by someone sitting around with a Graffix long overdue for a cleaning. Or perhaps someone who has a dream catcher hanging from their rearview mirror. (Yes, I have a problem with that. It’s a fucking CAR, and you should be awake while operating it, not worried about “catching dreams” while it’s in motion. Wise up, hippie.)


“It’s because of Hitler’s birthday.”

Wait, what? That sounds like something Sean Spicer would say. Yes, it’s true that little limp-dick speed freak was born on 4/20 (Hitler, not Spicer). But there is no conceivable way anyone thought the best way to celebrate it was to start smoking weed. Nazis suck, and cannabis should not be, and never has been, associated with them. How many stoned Nazis do you know? The answer is zero. You know zero stoned Nazis.


“It’s police code for ‘cannabis smoking in progress.’”

Do you actually think all police departments have the same codes from state to state? Or that they have a particular code for someone smoking weed? That’s stupid. Stop believing stupid things. Try using some critical thinking skills, which as Americans, we are sorely lacking. No, it’s not “police code” for anything.


“It’s the number of chemical compounds in cannabis.”

That isn’t true, and based on the pathetic amount of research we’re legally allowed to perform on cannabis in this country, I’m surprised this has gained any traction. If you are saying this, you are insulting science. How many chemical compounds are in cannabis? It doesn’t matter. It’s not 420, okay? There’s a lot, and you wouldn’t be able to name them all anyway. You have more important things to do than memorize cannabis chemical compounds, or at least I hope you do.


“It’s the hotel room number the Grateful Dead always stayed at while on tour.”

Oh Jesus, this again? Do you understand how touring works? You think an entire band as successful as the Dead did what, exactly—all stay in one room because it had a certain room number on the door? No, they did not. No band would, and even if that happened, which it did not, it wouldn’t have any bearing on anything, anywhere, ever. And no, I don’t want to hear about the summer you followed them on tour while selling burritos in the parking lot, or your bootleg tapes from ’74 at the Cow Palace. Get away from me.


“If you take Bob Dylan’s ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ and multiply 12 and 35, you get 420.”

True, the chorus is “Everybody must get stoned.” But that doesn’t mean Dylan was inserting math puzzles into his song titles. It makes me sad that you think Dylan had that sort of time, let alone that kind of transparency in his lyrics. Maybe you should go pick up the new Ed Sheeran and not worry about why Dylan does what he does.


So why DO we celebrate 4/20?

Here’s the big reveal that’s going to change your life—brace yourself:

Back in the 1970s, a group of high school buddies in San Rafael, California, who called themselves “the Waldos” liked to get together in front of a statue of Louis Pasteur at their school to get high at 4:20 pm. Later, that morphed into using the number 420 to refer to anything weed-related. That’s it. That’s the verified reason—you can Google it (along with any of the falsehoods). Yep, it comes from a group of kids smoking weed, which is exactly what every prohibitionist freaks out about. By the way, those kids all ended up dying from weed. (Except that they didn’t, because unless a bale of the stuff fell on them, weed never killed anybody.)

Happy 4/20!