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420: What Is It?

Whether you’re just starting your cannabis journey or you’re a seasoned connoisseur, odds are you’ve heard someone utter the term “420”. For almost 50 years this phrase has been used to reference marijuana all over the country. But what does it really mean and where did the term originate? The mystery surrounding its unique origins has taken many shapes, until just recently. Now ubiquitously known as a reference to cannabis use and a growing national holiday (though not officially recognized due to its position as a Schedule I substance at the federal level), 420 began as a simple reference to the time of day. It was what a group of friends from California would do at that time after school that would shape the meaning of the phrase. The group, called the Waldos, would meet at 4:20 pm after school to use cannabis in their preferred way. Through their habitual use of the phrase, and their connections to some pretty influential people in the history of cannabis culture (ie. The Grateful Dead), 420 would be spread to cannabis enthusiasts far and wide. Evidence goes back to the 1970s through journals, posters, and photos that the Waldos had said it first. Time Magazine goes into even more detail about their story.

But what began as a secret rendezvous has become a cultural phenomenon. People across the nation celebrate the reference with large cannabis consumption events. Even dispensaries typically run sales and other promos on April 20th. For some cannabis consumers, 4-20 is a holiday, they vacation to Colorado and California to celebrate by visiting a dispensary and consuming with their friends to provide relief in a social setting. Oftentimes marches take place in support of cannabis legalization. Politicians are often making appearances and speeches at these events. Every year it seems on April 20th more and more people are raising their voice and attention drawn to the day. It has transformed from a secret reference to cannabis use into something powerful – a unifying moment for a culture passionate for change. The best way to help change the laws is to break the stigma, and we are proud to support our community in doing just that.

The mystery origins of 420 are an incredible journey through a time when the love of cannabis in the US was strong. In many ways 420 could be considered the glue that held the culture of cannabis together through the war on drugs. Now, it is a day of celebration of the progress we’ve made towards changes in the cannabis industry and give light towards the future.

Each year more people, patients and adult use consumers alike, are finding their way to cannabis. A study from NYU Grossman School of Medicine, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stated it “estimates that cannabis use in adults age 65 and older increased from 2.4 percent to 4.2 percent in the United States, between 2015 – 2018.” Hmm… 4.20. This rise in the number of users can bring more voices to help break the stigma of cannabis use and bring on positive change.

Join us at TerraLeaf for a day of celebration on April 20th! WV Card holders may visit our dispensary from 10am-6pm. The community may join the Education Center for new patient telemedicine certifications (11am - 4pm), food truck (12pm - 4pm) program information, music, games & more!
*Call or text 240-801-5603 to be seen at the event for a telemedicine appointment; walk ins are also welcome ($139/new).

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