420 trivia

420 stoner dog

Hollywood, MD - Many people wonder about how 420 started out as being associated with cannabis.

The origin of the term 420, celebrated around the world by pot smokers every April 20, has long been obscured by the clouded memories of the folks who made it a phenomenon. And it started with The Grateful Dead in Oakland in 1990, according to the Huffington Post.

According to the article, flyers were being passed around The Lot, gathering of hippies that springs up in the parking lot before every Grateful Dead concert, that mentioned meeting at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing.

The flyer came complete with a 420 back story, referencing that 420 started somewhere in San Rafael, California in the late ‘70s as police code for Marijuana Smoking in Progress. Local Deadheads started using the expression when referring to the leafy green substance.

In May 1991, The High Times found that the story was partially correct.

It had nothing to do with a police code. But a group of five San Rafael High School friends known as the Waldos--by virtue of their chosen hang-out spot, a wall outside the school--coined the term in 1971.

The code often creeps into popular culture and mainstream settings. All of the clocks in Pulp Fiction, for instance, are set to 4:20. In 2003, when the California legislature codified the medical marijuana law voters had approved, the bill was named SB420.

The code pops up in Craig’s List postings when fellow smokers search for “420 friendly” roommates, to vaguely admit to using and to hopefully find roommates who can relate.

Fast forward to 4/20 2016: The use of medicinal marijuana is on the rise, with Pennsylvania becoming the 24th state to legalize use of medicinal marijuana on April 17.  

Although cannabis remains illegal on the federal level in the United States as a schedule I drug, individual states have legalized cannabis for valid medical purposes (and two states, Washington and Colorado, have legalized cannabis both medically and recreationally).

A list of which states authorize it for medical use is available on this website. Please be aware that the website was not intended to replace professional medical advice.

In Maryland, qualifying conditions to become a medical marijuana patient include: 

Cachexia (wasting syndrome)
Severe, debilitating, or chronic pain
Severe nausea
Seizures, including those characteristic of epilepsy
Severe and persistent muscle spasms
Multiple sclerosis
Crohn's disease
Hepatitis C

People who want to purchase marijuana in Maryland for medicinal purposes are most likely to have to wait until 2017, four years after it was approved, according to this Washington Post article.

Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state of Colorado has benefited from a decrease in crime rates, traffic fatalities, as well as an increase in jobs, tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales. Read here for more information.

Do you think that cannabis should be legalized for recreational use in Maryland? Would it help or hurt the state economy? Would it drive crime rates up or down? Let TheBayNet know what your thoughts are, and have a happy 420. 

Take this High Times quiz to test your knowledge. 

Jacqui Atkielski can be contacted at

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