I just realized a funny coincidence - my marijuana-infused, semi-autobiographical play PALMYRA NJ will have a reading this Wednesday, which happens to be 4-20. Considering the important part marijuana played in my life at one time, it's truly amazing that I did not even know what "4-20" meant until a few years ago. Duh!
The term has a fascinating provenance, if true:
The term was allegedly coined by a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971. Calling themselves the Waldos, because "their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school," the group first used the term in connection to a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 p.m. as their meeting time. The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase "4:20 Louis". Multiple failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply "4:20", which ultimately evolved into a codeword the teens used to mean pot-smoking in general.