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4:20 or 4/20 (pronounced four-twenty) is a term used in North America to refer to the consumption of cannabis and, by extension, a way to identify oneself with the drug subculture around cannabis.
420 is common in cannabis culture. As April 20th is 4/20 it is the cannabis national holiday. Festivities abound about North America. One of the largest gathering is at the Boulder campus of Colorado University. In 2007 over 6,000 people were in high spirits.
Origins and Observances
Although there are many explanations for the origin of the term, one stems from a story about a group of teenagers at San Rafael High School in San Rafael, California in 1971. The teens would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke marijuana at the Louis Pasteur statue. The term became part of their group's salute, "420 Louis!",and became popularized in the late 1980s by fans of the Grateful Dead. By extension April 20 ("4/20" in U.S. date notation) has evolved into a counterculture holiday, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. In some locations this celebration coincides with Earth Week. In Dunedin, New Zealand, students at the University of Otago and other cannabis law reform activists meet under a walnut tree on the Otago University Union Lawn on Wednesdays and Fridays at 4:20pm to openly smoke cannabis in public in what they call an 'act of protest'.
References in popular culture
- Phrases such as "420 friendly" sometimes appear in roommate advertisements, indicating that the current occupants are tolerant of cannabis users. That phrase is also used in personal ads to denote the same association.
- 420 is the title of a comic book series featuring the alternative superhero Captain Cannabis.
- Noting that "the national weed smoking day is 4/20," rapper Method Man named his 2006 album 4:21... The Day After.
- In the Futurama episode "The Farnsworth Parabox", one universe, Universe 420, is a hippy universe in which professor Farnsworth can be seen
smoking from a bong.