Friday is April 20, or 4/20. That’s the numerical code for marijuana’s high holiday, a celebration and homage to pot’s enduring and universal slang for smoking.
Festivities are planned worldwide, culminating with a synchronized smoke at 4:20 p.m. local time.
How the marijuana-loving world came to mark the occasion is believed traceable to five Northern California men now in their 60s with bad backs and graying hair. They are the unofficial grandmasters by virtue of the code they created nearly 50 years ago as students at a suburban San Francisco high school in 1971.
“We thought it was a joke then,” said David Reddix, a filmmaker and retired CNN cameraman. “We still do.”
Reddix and his four buddies — Steve Capper, Larry Schwartz, Jeff Noel and Mark Gravich — were a stoner clique who hung out at a particular wall between classes at San Rafael High School. They dubbed themselves “The Waldos,” a term coined by comedian Buddy Hackett to describe odd people.
One fall afternoon in 1971 a non-Waldo classmate came to the wall with an intriguing tale and a crudely drawn map.
The map purported to show the location of a marijuana garden in the forest of nearby Point Reyes National Seashore. The classmate said the pot patch belonged to his brother-in-law, a Coast Guard reservist stationed at Point Reyes.
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News