Since marijuana has been legalized in Canada, April 20th most commonly known as 420, has grown to new heights. Before we go into the best cannabis celebrations this year, let’s dive into where this date came from. Throughout the years there have been many myths about the origins of 420, including a code the police uses for marijuana, the number of chemical compounds found in weed, and even as far as connecting it to Adolf Hitler’s birthday April 20th, 1889.
The History of 420
Fortunately, there’s a more innocent story behind 420, beginning with five college friends called the Waldos who attended San Rafael High School in California. The Huffington Post reported on this story, stating that the 420 ‘code’ began in 1971. The Waldos planned to meet at the school at 4:20 to go on an expedition to find some free weed from a plot of marijuana plants abandoned by a Coast Guard service member. The Waldos consistently met at 4:20 to look for the cannabis plot, eventually referring to any cannabis related activities as ‘420’.
In the early 1970’s, The Grateful Dead, an American rock band, left the Haights in San Francisco and moved near San Rafael High School. Due to one of the Waldos’ father handling the band’s real estate, the Waldos were acquainted with the band and most likely used the code around the Grateful Dead, which then led the band to using the code throughout their world tour.
The story doesn’t end there, Steven Bloom a reporter for High Times Magazine, found a flyer in the parking lot of a Grateful Dead concert which mentioned ‘the story of 420’. The term received further attention when Steve Hager, editor of High Times Magazine, told the reporter to publish the flyer in 1991. Hager began using the term and planning a festival around that date, he then created a section in High Times Magazine named after the number, and scheduled daily staff meetings for 4:20pm.
Luckily, April 20th landed on a Saturday this year, which allowed participants to enjoy celebrations without the worry of work. There was an abundance of activities to accompany the high on 420 from Cannabis Crawls, Comedy & Music Festivals, and food trucks.
Toronto’s weed enthusiasts met at the Yonge & Dundas Square, covering the square with people and the air with smoke. The O’Cannabiz Conference and Expo which highlights the possible future of cannabis with speakers, Award Gala, and after-parties taking place from April 25 to 27, 2019.
With 2019 marking Vancouver’s 25th annual cannabis celebration, roughly 60,000 people to attended Sunset Beach.
The 420 Music & Arts Festival were hosted in Calgary on April 18th to the 20th, which included stoners, sludge, and psychedelic music, mouth-watering culinary creations from Alberta’s best food trucks, and of course, a beard contest.
Montreal, known as one of the most weed-friendly cities in Canada, hosted the festivities near the Mount Royal monument with their picnics, blankets and lighters.
In Ottawa, the large crowds gathered on Parliament Hill to celebrate the legalization of cannabis, and all of its glory.
This is the first year of legal cannabis at 420, so lets all take a moment to celebrate that fact!