For many cannabis enthusiasts, April 20th, or 4/20, is a special time of the year to celebrate the cannabis plant, fight for a change in drug policy, hit up a canna-themed concert or event, or simply kick back and relax with friends. However, the rumors and myths around 4/20 are random, ridiculous, and all too plentiful. We did some mythbusting to find the truth behind a few of the most popular stories that circulate around the holiday. Here’s what we uncovered.
1. MYTH: The police dispatch code for cannabis is ‘420’.
There’s a long-standing rumor that the police radio dispatch code for cannabis possession or public consumption in progress is ‘420’.
‘420’ is not the police code for cannabis smoking. In fact, it’s not the police code for anything (unless you’re in Las Vegas, in which case it’s the code for homicide.
One reason this particular rumor spread so far and wide is due to another canna-connection. Once, while on tour, Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh attributed ‘420’ to a police code in San Rafael, rumored to be “marijuana smoking in progress.” He was wrong, but the rumor persisted, eventually becoming the stuff of legend. This was the first (but certainly not the last) time the Grateful Dead would be associated with famous 420 rumors.
2. MYTH: There are 420 chemical compounds in cannabis.
There are more than 500 identifiable chemical compounds in cannabis, including 120 different terpenes and more than 70 different cannabinoids specific to cannabis alone.
3. MYTH: 4/20 is the anniversary of Bob Marley’s death.
Nope. Robert Nesta Marley (may he rest in peace) was born February 6, 1945 and died on May 11, 1981. So, while you might be jamming out to “Sun is Shining” on 4/20, the reggae superstar had no connection to the date aside from his love of cannabis. One love, yo.
Also, for what it’s worth, the day has no relation to Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, or Jim Morrison (aside from the simple fact that they were all known to enjoy cannabis).
4. MYTH: All of the clocks in the film Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20.
Status: FALSE, KIND OF
It’s safe to say that most of the clocks in Pulp Fiction are set to 4:20, but a few sharp-eyed movie buffs managed to find clocks in the film that don’t quite match up. That being said, it’s still a cool bit of movie trivia to drop on your friends.
5. MYTH: April 20 was the date of the Columbine school shooting.
Sadly, this is true. However, the usage of the term 420 had already been popularized, and the shooting itself had no ties whatsoever to cannabis. In fact, it is rumored that the date, April 20, was chosen due to its connection to Hitler rather than the cannabis holiday.
6. MYTH: April 20 was Hitler’s birthday.
Status: TRUE, BUT IRRELEVANT
Unfortunately, this one is a fact, but it has absolutely nothing to do with cannabis. Hitler was a turd, and he doesn’t get to ruin 4/20.