Origins of the 420 Rule

Origins of the 420 Rule

We are a species that likes to define ourselves in certain ways, which usually means that we splinter off into little subcultures that we feel define out personality. Even those who claim to swim against the tide, or rage against conformity of any sort, still seem to manage to fall into a group of some sort. We all like to think of ourselves as individuals, but there is also a need to find folks with ideas and likes that match our own, if only to prove to the masses that we are right and they are wrong. One group that would definitely be considered counter culture is marijuana smokers, even though a recent poll showed that 41% of the US population has tried marijuana at least once. That’s a pretty significant number for an alleged underground group of individuals.

That may account for why so many people are at least somewhat familiar with the terminology and culture of weed smokers, and why the 420 rule in particular seems to have found its way into popular culture. While the vast majority is aware of the 420 rule, most of them have no idea of the origins of it, and it may come as something of a surprise to learn that is also the case for even the most hardened lover of marijuana. It seems that a big part of the 420 rule’s mystique is the seemingly vague nature of its origin.

For those unaware, the 420 rule applies to a time (April 20th at 4.20) when all smokers are encourage to light up in support of the right to smoke. This usually always prompts the question of how it all began, but as I mentioned earlier, no-one really seems to know for sure. The most common explanation of the origins of the rule can be traced back to a Californian named Steve Waldo. It’s believe that he coined the phrase “420 Louie” whilst attending high school in San Rafael. The code was used as a reminder for his buddies to congregate at a statue of Louis Pasteur at 4.20 pm, where the group would then share in their love of weed.

It appears that nobody can truly verify if this really is how the 420 rule came into being, but perhaps more importantly, it also appears that nobody really cares whether it did or not. The 420 rule is something that belongs solely to the stoner culture, but the fact that it has seeped into the regular world is actually considered to be a positive. That leads to people talking about marijuana in general, which in turn usually leads to conversation about the possible legalization of the drug. That the push to have marijuana legalized seems to be gathering steam is proof positive that the drug, as well as the people who regularly smoke it, are becoming more socially acceptable. The only real surprise, given how many people have actually taken a few tokes, is how long that it has taken to get moving.

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