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People take April 20th very seriously.
It's two days before April 20, otherwise known as 4/20. The number has long been code for smoking marijuana — but few people know why. Offering a definitive explanation is David Bienenstock, High Times editor and author of The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook.
According to Bienenstock, 420 didn't become famous because it is:
- The day Jimi Hendrix died
- Jerry Garcia's birthdate
- Police code for the act of smoking marijuana
- Time to serve tea in polite British society
- The number of molecules in marijuana
"The true story is stranger and nicer," says Bienenstock. Back in the 1970s, a small group of friends in San Rafael, Calif., used to light up every day at 4:20 p.m., he says. San Rafael is the home of the Grateful Dead, a cultural connection that helped spread "420" as slang.
But even with that resolution, marijuana remains illegal.
"That's why I didn't bring any," Bienenstock says. "I'm on National Public Radio ... On national pothead radio, that's another thing."