High Times

420: A HISTORY

FOUR-TWENTY. APRIL 20. 4:20 in the morning (or in the evening). The High Holy Day. No matter what you call it, everyone knows what 420 means today. But there was a time when the term was in its infancy, and those outside of the smoking circle were unaware of its meaning. Like the iconic and universal “save” icon on computer screens, which is represented by the image of a long-defunct floppy disc, the symbol lives on. 420 still exists as a long-lasting symbol of unity and spirituality of the underground counterculture, and it remains as a celebration for those who are fighting the good fight now.

There still seems to be some confusion about the origin of 420, due to many common myths that continue to circulate. The first, of course, is related to law enforcement. It has long been assumed that police officers supposedly used “420” as a code to alert other officers that a cannabis arrest was in progress. Others believed that 420 refers to a portion of the California penal code.

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