The Legend of 420

by  Kelley Gilbert
Marking the first year cannabis is legal recreationally throughout Colorado, stoners, workers, students and the like will come together this 4/20 in celebration of the infamous holiday.  While most know the recent buzz around the legalization of recreational marijuana, few and far between know the origin of the celebration.  Some would argue 420 dates back to the Los Angeles police code for marijuana smoking in progress or the number of chemical compounds in marijuana.  Others note the term to refer to teatime in Amsterdam, the mecca for marijuana smokers, or in reference to Adolf Hitler’s birthday on April 20.
As many contemplate the origin between puffs, the true origin of 420 refers back to 1971 when a group of high-school students, no pun intended, coined the term in San Rafael, Calif.  The group of teenagers used the password 420 Louis to refer to the time they gathered to smoke-up under the Louis Pasteur monument on campus.  Known as the Waldo’s because the location was near a wall they stood by, the clique of tokers did not simply spend their time getting blazed.
The group was originally in search of a cannabis plant rumored to be growing nearby the monument.  With no recorded luck on finding the prized herb, the Waldo’s settled for being known as the inventors of the term millions of people celebrate every day.
Today, the term 420 is not only a reference for the unofficial national holiday of April 20, but also the time of day to smoke, a code word for marijuana, as well as the instigator of multiple stolen road signs and mile markers.
To kick off the celebration in Fort Collins this year, the Sustainable Living Association will host an Earth Day event at Civic Center Park in Fort Collins on April 19 from 11am-5pm.  Featuring arts and crafts, live music, guest speakers, local food and a beer garden, there is something for the whole family to enjoy.  Admission is free, but attendees are asked to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the Food Bank.
The Sunshine Daydream Art and Music Festival will be the spot to be on April 20 at Avogadro’s Number. There will be music by Hog MaGundy, Cary Morin and Derek Blake, live art, local vendors and drink specials.  The event will start at 4pm and continue into the weekly Dead Jam at 9pm.  Bring the whole family as it will be kid friendly as well with free admission for those over 21 and under 12 years old.
Despite tradition, the annual Cheba Hut block party will be on hiatus this year but will still offer its money-saving deal of a four-inch sub, chips and a Frisbee for $4.20.
Wherever you may be in Colorado, be sure to take advantage of the local events happening near you this 420 and become a part of the movement.
420 Rally, Civic Center Park
Apr. 19 10am-5pm and Apr. 20 9am-6pm
Slightly Stoopid, Red Rocks Amphitheatre
Apr. 19, $40+
Campus Smoke-out, CU-Boulder Campus
Apr. 20

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