Happy 420: Origins of 420 and ‘The Waldos’
Happy 420 everybody.
Hopefully when you read this you've already "partaked" and safe somewhere parked in you house all nice and comfy. After all, it's now legal in our great state.
Have you ever thought about the term 420 and wondered where it came from? For the longest time I had no idea what it meant. I thought it was just another random colloquial term people had for smoking giggle grass. Others claim it's police code for someone smoking the devil's lettuce. However, It has a interesting origin that dates back to the early 1970's
Students at a California high school in 1971 dubbed "The Waldos" were friends that liked to hangout, smoke ganja, and tell jokes on a wall they leaned up against. One day, they learned of a patch of cannabis growing on an abandoned coast guard island just off of the coast of San Fransisco.
A friend of theirs had a brother in the coast guard that planted the seeds and later abandoned the operation not knowing if anything grew on the island.
According to the story I heard on the podcast, Criminal, The brother of the coast guard member gave The Waldos a map to find the field of green and said, "Good luck".
They decided to embark on a journey to win the weed lottery if you will, meeting at the wall after school and sportsball practice at 4:20pm. They had code name for their clandestine operation by simply saying, "420 Louie" in the hallway to confirm the plan.
During those hazy afternoons, the fellas went to the island and looked around to find the crop of righteous bush only to find little to nothing. Their dream of finding a pot field fizzled in an instant.
However, the term stuck with The Waldos after the adventure ended with the code word living on in the hallways as a confirmation of a "safety meeting" after school by the wall.
Later on in life, according to an article from High Times Magazine. One of The Waldos, Dave Reddix became a bass guitar roadie for Phil Lesh of The Grateful Dead where he kept the term "420" alive and saw it picked up by both the band, and fans around the world spreading like wildfire.
The Waldos are still friends to this after all these years, and they still have the map. They keep it preserved in a San Fransisco bank vault away from the elements where they get together and look at it from time to time celebrating a friendship lasting decades.
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