What started as an adventurous treasure hunt amongst 5 friends became an international cult holiday in the weed world that spread like wildflowers.
It was 1971 in San Rafael, CA when a group of friends embarked on an unforgettable adventure and the coining of the “4−20” phrase that would permeate the cannabis culture across the world.
Steve Capper, Jeff Noël, Mark Gravich, Dave Reddix, and Larry Schwartz — were frequently seen sitting together on the wall outside their school campus. Dubbed “the Waldos”, these friends enjoyed going on “safaris” as they called them – local adventures exploring the Bay Area while enjoying a little herb to enhance the experience. If you were into counterculture, cannabis, and adventure, it was a great time to be in Northern California.
Steve Capper was given a map to an alleged abandoned cannabis crop near the Coast Guard station in Point Reyes. The crop was rumored to belong to a Coast Guard member no longer able to care for it and the Waldo’s figured “finders keepers” and set out on their quest.
Before each safari adventure the guys would meet at their chosen toke spot — the statue of Louis Pasteur on their school grounds- for a few ceremonial puffs. They always met at this spot, at the same time, 4:20 pm after school activities were done and the hustle and bustle on campus was dwindling down. The phrase 4 – 20 evolved into a way for the teens to chat openly about pot and their after-school plans.
The Waldos never found their treasure, but the phrase traveled like wildfire. Waldo Dave’s older brother was friendly with Grateful Dead’s bassist, Phil Lesh and would lend a hand at shows and helped manage Lesh’s side projects. Dave shared the lingo with band and crew members and the groupies (Deadheads), and not before long the term became synonymous with cannabis and lighting up!
Today there are cannabis festivals on 4 – 20 all over the country and parts of the world! And the Waldos still get together for an adventure every now and then!