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The Significance of 4/20: How Cannabis Culture Has Evolved

Published On:
April 5, 2023

Read time:
4 Minutes

A clock showing the time “4:20” with a cannabis leaf on the hour hand

If you haven’t already, you better mark your calendars for April 20, friends! If you don’t know, 4/20 is a day that celebrates cannabis culture in all its glory. More than just appreciating its existence, it’s also focused on the victories of legalization and pushing for future legalization in other places around the world.

We know what you’re thinking: Why celebrate on 4/20? What’s the history behind it?

Keep scrolling to find out!

A person wearing a True North Cannabis Co. hat holding a bud

The Historical Significance of 4/20 

It All Began in 1971

The significance of 4/20 traces all the way back to 1971 in Marin County, California.

There were five students from San Rafael High School who would regularly meet up at 4:20 p.m. to partake in a casual toke. Their go-to spot was by the wall near the campus’ statue of chemist Louis Pasteur. Because they chose the wall as their meeting, they also became known as the “Waldos.”

These five students—Dave Reddix, Mark Gravich, Steve Capper, Larry Schwartz, and Jeffrey Noel—chose 4:20 p.m. in particular because it was when school was done for the day. From then on, “420” became their own secret code for getting high. While high, the group would often search for their own little adventures to go on, which they referred to as “safaris.” 

Fast-Forward to the 1990s

It was in the 90s when the significance of 4/20 quite literally hit the road.

One of the Waldos, Dave Reddix, began working as a roadie for the band “Grateful Dead.” Little did anyone know that this was when 4/20 history was about to be made. 

On December 28, 1990, the fans of Grateful Dead—who were known as the Deadheads—started handing out flyers in Oakland. They contained an invitation for people to smoke ”420” on April 20th at 4:20 p.m.

Almost as if it was destined to happen, one of these flyers found its way to Steve Bloom, who used to be a reporter for one of the biggest authorities on cannabis culture, High Times magazine. The publication actually ended up printing the flyer in 1991 and began frequently referencing the number. It wasn’t long before “4/20” became a worldwide code for marijuana.

Acknowledging the founders of the now-popular term in 1998, High Times magazine recognized the “Waldos” as the official inventors of 4/20. 

What 4/20 Means Today

What started as a high school secret has turned into a worldwide movement. Today, 4/20 is a globally celebrated event where cannabis-enthusiasts everywhere come together to smoke up. But that’s not all—it has also become a day for rallying.

On 4/20, you’ll frequently find the masses pushing to legalize it in other parts of the world for medicinal and recreational uses. A recent poll showed that 68% of participants support marijuana legalization, which was a record high!

The Thriving Cannabis Industry

With cannabis culture making its mark across the globe, the industry is being boosted to immense heights. In fact, the global cannabis market was valued at around $22.5 billion in 2021, and it’s expected to reach $82.3 billion by 2027. 

A group of people rallying on 4/20 

Make 4/20 History at These Events and Festivities!

Niagara Falls 420 Expo

Where: Niagara Falls Convention Centre

(6815 Stanley Ave, Niagara Falls, Canada)

When: Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Deemed one of North America’s largest celebrations of all things cannabis, this 4/20 event features more than 30,000 sq. ft. of exciting adventures. You’ll find over 100 vendors, artists, educational seminars, guest speakers, games, movie cars, and so much more. Did we mention there’s a free meet and greet with Afroman? Sign us up. 

420 Vancouver Cannabis Festival

Where: Sunset Beach, Vancouver

When: Thursday, April 20, 2023 | 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Every year, thousands of people flock to bond with other enthusiasts over market stalls that sell cannabis-related products, paraphernalia, and souvenirs. Attendees can also look forward to guest speakers and live music! 

Smokus Pocus: A 4/20 Magic Show

Where: Spadina Theatre, Toronto

When: Saturday, April 22, 2023 | 7 p.m.

Add a bit of magic to your high by attending Smokus Pocus. 

This show is a mind-blowing extravaganza hosted by Eric Leclerc, a two-time Canadian Magic Champion. As a true icon in the world of magic, he’s made waves on Netflix, Ellen, Fool Us, MTV, and so much more.

When it comes to caricatures coming to life, objects vanishing and reappearing in impossible places, and mind-reading, there’s no one who does it better than Eric Leclerc. For this experience, the audience is encouraged to show up “high AF”—a 4/20 dream come true!

True North Cannabis Co. Has Got You Covered From 01/01 to 12/31

No matter where you’ll be on this exciting day, celebrate 4/20 (and all the days in between) with True North Cannabis Co. As Ontario’s fastest-growing retailer, it’s clear that customers simply can’t get enough of our pre-rolls, flowers, vapes, topicals, edibles, and so much more.

Even with the most affordable rates on the market, we encourage you to become a VIP member today to enjoy incredible steal deals. You can also follow us on Instagram to be the first to know about our freshest drops!

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