The Beginner’s Guide to 420

Diana Gonimah
Apr 19, 2020

Last year, you had a wedding to attend. The year before you were stuck in a conference call for two hours, and the year before that, you forgot. But this was supposed to be your year—the year you were finally going to partake in 420 festivities.

While this year hasn’t exactly turned out the way any of us could’ve imagined, it’s still as great a year as any to experience your first 420 celebration. Only it’s better, this year you get to enjoy the moment at 4:20 on 4/20 in 2020, so you can’t miss it.

Here’s everything you need to know to make your first 420 a momentous one:

Why 4:20?

Before we share some tips, it’s high time to learn a little 420 history. Much like the disparate narratives around the origin of the word “marijiuana”, there are several explanations for how 420 Day came to exist. The most agreed upon narrative is that the term was coined in 1971 by a group of five friends who met up after practice to hang out and smoke in San Rafael High School.

The friend group—known as the Waldos by virtue of the wall outside the school where they hung out—got word of a Coast Guard service member who could no longer tend his plot of marijuana plants near the Point Reyes Peninsula Coast Guard station. The Waldos planned to meet up at the statue of Louis Pasteur outside the school at 4:20 to hunt for the treasure that is free marijuana, reminding each other in the hallways to meet up at 4:20-Louis.

While the Waldos never found the hidden patch, they made a habit out of meeting at 4:20 and smoking all the way to Point Reyes every week. 4:20-Louis, then eventually 4:20, became their shorthand for meeting up after school to hang out and smoke, or a codeword they could use in the presence of parents.

As fate would have it, the Waldos were connected to the Grateful Dead in several ways. Geographically, as the Dead moved to the Marin County Hills, and because a Waldo’s parents managed real estate for the Dead and another Waldo’s older brother managed a Dead sideband. The Waldos therefore had open access to Dead parties and rehearsals, spreading 420 to the Dead who would then take the term globally as they toured through the ‘70s and ‘80s.

Today, 420 represents a strong bond of community and oneness with the world. The holiday’s proximity to earth day, especially in a hyperconnected world, calls for hitting pause and enjoying the moment, smoking a joint outside with some friends.

420 this year may look a little different due to shelter-in-place restrictions, but the core areas that make 420 such a great holiday don’t have to be compromised in quarantine.

1. Putting the .com in community

This year, 420 doesn’t have to be any less social just because you’re quarantining alone or away from your usual sesh buddies. Yes, we miss laying a towel down in Dolores Park or vegging out on the beach in SoCal, but the Silicon Valley gods have blessed our generation with various options that enable us to light one up together, without physically being together. Start sending out some calendar invites—and make your friend’s day by inviting them to a Zoom (or Google Hangouts or Facetime) sesh on 4/20.

420 online party

YouTube and Amazon Prime have a number of affordable meditation and yoga classes that can help you and your friends ease your way into 420, or maybe you’ll break the ice by sharing a virtual movie night. We picked 30 movies we love to watch high for you to pick from. 

And remember that it’s not just your friends that make up your 420 community. Sign up for a livestreamed yoga or dance class via ClassPass and yank yourself out of isolation. Even a friendly nod to a neighbor is more important than ever during a time that we all crave connectedness.

2. Getting your bearings pairings

Make sure your pantry and fridge are filled with all your favorites—you can’t run the risk of running out of your favorite parmesan crisps or Eggo waffles on the best day of the year (sorry, Christmas). For some fun, easy recipes, check out our Cann-and-Pita-Pizza pairing and our dynamic Neutron preroll-and-spicy-tacos duo.

Or satisfy your munchies with some delicious chocolatey and fruity edibles from our extensive menu of options. Whether it’s PLUS’s sunny-sweet Tangerine gummies, Atlas’ dark chocolate and hazelnut clusters, or the more discreet Emerald Sky gummies you can pop in during your meetings (it is a Monday after all), the cannabis industry has left something for everyone to enjoy in this day and age.

3. Finding your happy place

It might sound like a cruel question to ask during a nationwide shelter-in-place order, but where you spend 420 is a key consideration for the day. Yes, we’re quarantined, but even the section of your home or room that you dedicate to your celebrations is something to think about. In the absence of our go-to sesh locations of choice (looking at you, Dolores), daydream a little and try to make your home look different for the day.

Move some furniture around, set up a nature livestream on your laptop, dig up your yoga mat, or lay down a beach towel down on your balcony floor. Maybe you still have that photobooth background you ordered on Amazon for a tropical party. Whatever it is, find your beach, or your zen spot of choice. And make that your 420 spot. Bonus points if it’s far away from your desk or any part of your home that you associate with negativity or stress.

Shop products and snacks that will match your 420 happiness corner. Countless of Headspace meditations later may drive you to channel some serious beach vibes, so get on island time with us with ISLAND’s Pax Era Mango Haze. This mellow Sativa, full of fruity flavor and a sweet, luscious aroma will give you the uplifting high that will elevate you to your 420 happy place.

4. Vibe Check

Pick out your outfit for 420! 420 represents your happy place, so you should be dressed for the occasion. Bust out your Grateful Dead shirt, dust off your summer vacation clothes, or change into your favorite pair of pajamas. Dress for the 420 you deserve!

420 beginner's guide

And to get the vibes right all day long, we’ve curated a Spotify playlist with 30 of our favorite 420 tunes. Enjoy the moment:

Licenses: 1. Cann CDPH-100002356 2. Neutron C12-0000108-LIC 3. PLUS CDPH-10001901 4. Atlas CDPH-10001996 5. Island CDPH-10003230


Huffington Post, The Story Behind 420 Becoming ‘Weed Day’

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