I've done the research and know how 420 got started, at least according to High Times magazine. According to them it all dates back to the Waldos. According to the executive editor of the magazine, "People tried to create their own myth about this...The start of 420 is fairly clear at this point—the kids back at San Rafael High School." It was the time that they gathered at the statue Louis Pasteur to smoke pot in 1971, which they referred to as a 420 Louis. The students were nicknamed the Waldos. The name went viral the way most things went viral in the '70s. In other words, it took years before it became national pot smoking day. High Times published the term in 1990, and it was adopted by Deadheads, the followers of the Grateful Dead.
It became a celebration.
I've never really understood the whole idea. I have wracked my brain trying to find something that compares to an event that advocates a yearly gathering that celebrates being impaired. The only thing I can come up with that even comes close is New Years Eve. That is a celebration of a beginning or ending depending on whether you are an optimist or pessimist, I suppose. While many do imbibe and some make complete idiots of themselves, and even a few who commit violent acts as happened with 420 in Denver this year, the celebration really isn't about the drinking. I mean there is no actual holiday that has the sole purpose of people gathering to celebrate being drunk. You might think that we would have say 125 which was the day Prohibition ended, December 5, 1933. We don't.
I suppose I could point out that smoking pot is illegal, and it still is here in Colorado for a while longer. That, however, isn't really a good point, and it is, in fact, moot. I could also point out that since it is illegal has anyone at these celebrations considered where the money they spent on the drug goes? What organization they might be supporting? I let you consider that, but again, not my point. I am just pondering why anyone would think that celebrating being high is a good thing?
I mean can you imagine a group of ten thousand people gathering in the park for the single purpose of drinking scotch? Sounds a bit silly. So 420 seems to me a bit silly. I guess it may just be as some might say, "We humans are an illogical and goofy bunch." I might even go so far as to say, "It doesn't just say it, but screams it."