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What is 4/20? And, How to Celebrate the Cannabis Holiday

420 Calfornia
Photo by Corey Agopian/Unsplash
It’s an understatement to say that 4/20 is important to those who are into cannabis. In fact, it is like St. Patrick’s Day, Dia De Los Muertos, Chinese New Year, and Mardi Gras rolled into one. 4/20 is an internationally recognized holiday in the cannabis community, a day for people to celebrate the plant and join together to advocate for its legalization or decriminalization.

Additionally, 4/20 has come to signify the progress the world has made on cannabis legalization and decriminalization. On April 20 this year, Canada will become the first G7 country, and only the second country in the world, to celebrate a plant that is legal for recreational use.

Psst. What is Cannabis? If you’ve found your way to this page you are likely  familiar with what cannabis is but in case you need a primer, please learn more here.

Where it All Began

4/20 has a storied past. The name of the holiday is a reference to the time of day  (4:20 pm) in the fall of 1971, when a group of high school friends in San Rafael, California would meet up, toke up, and go on a treasure hunt together.

Treasure Hunt? Go on…

The treasure that the Waldos, as the group of friends was known, sought was a small patch of to-be-harvested cannabis on the Point Reyes Peninsula, about an hour west of their high school.

They had been given a hand-drawn map by a friend whose brother had grown the patch. He was in the Coast Guard and worried about being busted, so he gave the friends permission to keep the treasure if they were able to find it.

Many days that fall the group of friends met at 4:20 pm under the statue of Louis Pasteur that stood by their high school and set out on their hunt for the treasure—the pot of green.

They never found what they were looking for but the legend of 4/20 flowered and continues to pollinate across the world today.

That’s Cool, Why Should I Care?

The holiday is a day for cannabis enthusiasts to celebrate friendship, progress, and the adventure of life.

How to Experience 4/20?

Whether you are new to the holiday or have been celebrating 4/20 for decades, there are no official ways to experience the day. That being said, the unspoken rule is to honour the spirit of its origins—a celebration of friendship and adventure.

Here are a few ways you can do that:

  • Bring a friend to a 4/20 celebration, especially one who may be new to the holiday.
  • Bring a party favour. From flower, to prerolls to homemade edibles, bringing along something for others to share is always a good idea. Two of the most popular 4/20 cannabis strains are Tangerine Dream and Delahaze.
  • Go on an adventure. Seize the opportunity to go out and explore something new—and don’t forget to bring friends!

Where to Celebrate Canada’s First Legal 4/20

Debunking Some 4/20 Myths:

The 4/20 celebration has a long and storied past. Over the years, some myths have emerged. We’re here to set the record straight.


  • 4/20 is California police code for cannabis.
  • There are 420 chemical compounds in cannabis.
  • 4/20 is the anniversary of Bob Marley’s death. (The reggae icon and cannabis devotee died on May 11, 1981)

Debunking 420: Separating facts from fiction

Anything Else? Yes, Consume Responsibly and In Moderation:

As with any holiday, consumption can be abundant, whether that be with food, alcohol or cannabis. If you’re an experienced cannabis consumer and know your limits in terms of consumption, please be mindful of them.