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Where does 420 come from? Show more Show less
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For stoners worldwide, the 20th of April has long represented a day of celebration. Known commonly as '4:20' participants spend the day smoking cannabis and glorifying the culture that comes with it. But why? Competing theories exist over its origins. So, where does 420 come from?

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Musical heavyweights from Bob Marley to John Lennon have been famously open about their love for the drug.
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Bob Dylan invented 420

His song “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35 ” contains a reference to 420 and marijuana.


420 is a term that refers to smoking marijuana and is also a holiday (April 20th), where people celebrate consuming marijuana. It has mysterious origins, and understanding which one theory regarding it is correct will settle a decades-old cultural debate.

The Argument

Bob Dylan has a song titled “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35.” 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420, and this song contains the lyrics “everybody must get stoned [1]" thereby linking 420 and marijuana. Furthermore, this song came out in 1966, which is the first known usage of 420, predating the infamous concert flyers at a Grateful Dead concert. [2] Since Bob Dylan wrote the song that contains the hidden code that indicates 420, it is clear that he created the term. As the man who originally connected 420 and marijuana, Bob Dylan created this term, not the people who discovered that multiplying these numbers led to 420.

Counter arguments

Bob Dylan may have contributed to 420's popular use with his song, but he did not create it. He wrote a song that contains no direct reference to 420 that just happens to be about marijuana. “Rainy Day Woman #12 & 35” may be a song you listen to on 420, but it is not the origin of 420. If you start applying arithmetic to every numeric reference in marijuana-themed songs, you’ll find others that create a combination of 4, 2, and 0. “Rainy Day Women’s #12 & 35” multiplication association to 420 is pure coincidence.



[P1] Bob Dylan linked 420 and marijuana in a song. [P2] Bob Dylan has the first reference to 420. [P3] Therefore, Bob Dylan created 420.

Rejecting the premises

[P1] The reference to 420 in a Bob Dylan song is artificial.




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This page was last edited on Tuesday, 23 Jun 2020 at 01:56 UTC

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