Origin of the term “four-twenty”?

Origin of the term “four-twenty”?

I had not heard it till I moved from D.C. to California where it’s used as code for smoking marijuana. 4:20 in the afternoon is understood to be a good time to smoke a bowl. I climbed a landmark tree on the University of California at Santa Cruz Campus, and found a receipt from a drugstore impaled on a twig on one of the uppermost branches. It looked completely unremarkable to me but I imagined there must be something of significance about it that I was missing. I mentioned it to one of my fellow climbers and he pointed out that the due amount was $4.20. Apparently this is a magic number. I have been told its use spans the country and that companies have incorporated it into their names, so I was a bit surprised when I did a search for it here in the SD and turned up no hits. As its connotative use relates to smoking pot, I imagine it will be a challenge to pin down it’s original denotative use but perhaps someone will at least get close.
Here is what the marijuana afficionado magazine High Times has to say about it:

You’ve asked a question, and you’ve linked to about as good an answer to that question as you could possibly expect.

What do you want here?

The straight dope.

Snopes: 420

Plus, you can search the archives on this board for the previous times this question has been asked.

Here is one such very recent thread.

420 = number of times per month this question gets posted here.

I want to thank you smart fellows for your help. It was most white of you. God as my witness, I did a few searches and turned up nothing, as it’s possible you may have guessed from reading my post. Terribly sorry if I have made you fritter away a portion of your life on my thoughtless and inconsiderate query. Rest assured I will try hard not to ask anymore foolish or imperfectly researched questions, from this point on.

Peace out,


By the way, how do you like UC Santa Cruz? Its one of the schools im considering…