Origin of "420"
March 5, 2006 9:55 PM   Subscribe

What is the origin of "420"

I was at a party last night and a topic of discussion moved to smoking pot. We were both wondering where did the term "420" come from. She heard that it meant 4:20PM was the best time to smoke. Any tokers on this one?
posted by goalyeehah to Grab Bag (9 answers total)
The story that I've heard as 'true' the most times is that a bunch of people who were the first ones to popularize it for college/etc got together at 4:20 to smoke, just because it fit in with their class schedules/etc. The one that's definitely not true is that its the Calif penal code for possession. You can look it up; definitely not there.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:58 PM on March 5, 2006

Best answer: Snopes.

posted by Miko at 9:58 PM on March 5, 2006

Snopes for the confirmation. I was a bit off.
posted by devilsbrigade at 9:59 PM on March 5, 2006

Only one entity can fully answer the question.
posted by mr.dan at 10:00 PM on March 5, 2006

Couldn't you have waited 25 minutes to post this question? Then it would have been 4:20 somewhere in the world?
posted by grouse at 1:43 AM on March 6, 2006

Snopes is great, and so is Wikipedia.

But so is Ask Metafilter for answers to questions exactly like this one.
posted by mikel at 4:10 AM on March 6, 2006

As an aside, my old boss went to San Rafael High in the 1970s and she says she never heard the term until recently.
posted by meehawl at 5:27 AM on March 6, 2006

meehawl, perhaps that's how she came to the boss man...
posted by zpousman at 6:39 AM on March 6, 2006

I never expected to be a folk etymologist -- because up until two months ago, I was a mute.

Er -- personally, the high-school pothead story sounds unbelievably lame. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing that would spread, but it is attested. *shrug*
posted by dhartung at 11:12 PM on March 6, 2006

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