While plumes of smoke rise in unison around the globe in honor of this unofficial stoner New Year, the cannabis culture is not confined to just this one fabled afternoon. Beyond the haze of ‘420,’ a rich calendar of weed holidays offers enthusiasts a plethora of opportunities to ignite their passion for the herb in symbolic and historically significant ways.
The story of 420 begins with a group of high school students in the early 1970s who met at that specific time to partake in a cannabis adventure. This tale winds its way to the Grateful Dead through whispers in the counterculture and out into the world—becoming synonymous with cannabis itself. Yet, to believe that 420 is the alpha and omega of cannabis celebrations is to overlook a world ripe with tradition and burgeoning with new customs.
From the cryptic numerology of ‘710’—a celebration of cannabis oils and concentrates when the numbers are turned upside down—to the communal feasts of ‘Green Wednesday,’ the day before Thanksgiving, cannabis culture embraces a diversity of holidays that echo its growth, history, and the evolving ways in which it is integrated into society. Each date carries its own story, its own traditions, and its own unique way of contributing to the tapestry of cannabis culture.
This date, known universally as “420,” has become synonymous with marijuana use and its vibrant culture, but it’s a common misconception that this is the only day dedicated to celebrating this green herb. The roots of 420 are as hazy as the smoke from a freshly lit joint, tracing back to a group of students in the 1970s and evolving into an international phenomenon, embodying the camaraderie and rebellious spirit of cannabis culture.
Yet, this iconic day is just one of many in a growing list of weed holidays, each with its unique flavor and history. These days invite enthusiasts to not only revel in the joy of consumption but also to enrich their understanding of cannabis’s cultural significance, medicinal benefits, and the botanical wonder it represents.
As we journey beyond the smoky veil of 420, we uncover a calendar marked with dates that celebrate the diversity and complexity of cannabis. From the focused revelry of 710 to the family-oriented festivities of Green Wednesday, these occasions offer a rich tapestry of tradition and community.
In this article, we’ll light up the lesser-known corners of the cannabis calendar, offering insights into the why and how of each celebration. It’s an invitation to broaden your horizons beyond the smoke of April 20th to discover and participate in the full spectrum of weed holidays.
Whether you’re a seasoned smoker or simply canna-curious, join us on a journey through the days that have shaped cannabis culture into the rich and vibrant community it is today. Let’s explore why these holidays matter and how they offer more than just another reason to indulge; they offer a connection to the story of cannabis, a plant intertwined with human history for millennia.
The phenomenon of 420, now deeply entrenched in cannabis culture, is often thought to be steeped in law codes or the number of active compounds in marijuana, but its origins are far more prosaic—and human.
The term ‘420’ was coined in 1971 by a group of high school students at San Rafael High School in California. These students, known as the “Waldos” because of their chosen hang-out spot—a wall outside the school—used “420” as a shorthand for their quest to find an abandoned cannabis crop in the nearby Point Reyes Forest, based on a treasure map from the grower.
The Waldos would meet at the statue of Louis Pasteur on campus at 4:20 p.m. to begin their search, with “420” becoming their code for all things marijuana-related. While they never found the crop, their code word caught on, first among the followers of the Grateful Dead. The band and its fans were instrumental in propagating the term across the country and around the world.
But why did 420 gain such traction and become a global phenomenon? One of the main reasons is its timing; 4:20 p.m. is a time when many people are finishing school or work, making it a convenient moment to relax and indulge. Additionally, April 20th falls nicely in spring in the Northern Hemisphere, a time for renewal and often good weather conducive to outdoor gatherings and celebrations.
Moreover, 420 transcended its initial in-joke status to become a symbol of defiance against the establishment, especially during a time when cannabis was widely illegal and stigmatized. It became a form of peaceful protest—a way for the community to rally against prohibition and the negative connotations associated with marijuana use. As cannabis has edged toward mainstream acceptance, with legal victories across the globe, 420 has evolved from a counter-cultural rallying point to a day of celebration, reflection, and advocacy.
The day’s events often include public gatherings, where participants light up at 4:20 p.m. local time, as well as educational events, activism, and remembrance of the history of cannabis culture and its ongoing struggle for legalization and recognition. In essence, 420 has come to symbolize a moment of cultural communion, a shared experience that unites cannabis enthusiasts from all walks of life.
Beyond the well-trodden path of April 20th, the calendar blooms with a variety of other dates significant to cannabis culture, each offering its unique customs, historical context, and celebratory activities beyond the stereotypical consumption. Here we present a curated collection of such occasions:
710 (July 10th)
Revered as the day of oils and concentrates, ‘710’—which reads as ‘OIL’ when flipped upside-down—celebrates the art and science behind cannabis extractions. The holiday emerged from the cannabis subculture as a way to appreciate the potency and craft of concentrates like waxes, oils, and resins. On this day, enthusiasts gather for dabbing sessions, share their knowledge on extraction techniques, and attend workshops on responsible concentrate use. It’s a day to explore the nuances of different extraction methods and their results, focusing on flavor, purity, and innovative progress within the industry.
Green Wednesday (Day before Thanksgiving)
Positioned on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, this holiday has gained traction as one of the busiest days for cannabis dispensaries, with sales spiking as people prepare to unwind for the holiday. The historical context here is tied to the season of gratitude and togetherness, with cannabis seen as a means to enhance relaxation and sociability. Activities can include pairing cannabis with Thanksgiving dishes, sharing stories of thankfulness related to cannabis, or volunteering at community events to support those less fortunate.
Cannabis Harvest Season (Late September to November)
This period signifies the traditional harvest time for cannabis, especially in outdoor grows in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s a time to celebrate the culmination of growers’ efforts over the year. Harvest festivals often feature live music, cannabis competitions, and educational booths on cultivation. Attendees might also engage in trimming parties or tours of local farms to learn about sustainable growing practices.
Certainly, including November 6th, August 8th, and June 18th in the context of cannabis holidays adds depth to the recognition of cannabis culture beyond the usual 420 festivities. Here’s how these dates can be integrated into the fabric of cannabis holidays.
November 6th — Legalization Day
The significance of November 6th stems from the historical milestones achieved on this day in the movement towards cannabis legalization. Several U.S. states have held referendums on this day, resulting in the passing of crucial legislation that has shifted the landscape of cannabis policy.
Legalization Day is observed by advocates and supporters as a day of reflection on the progress made and the work still ahead in the fight for legal recognition. It’s a day where discussions, forums, and celebrations take place, focusing on political advocacy and education about the benefits of legalization.
August 8th — CBD Day
August 8th (8/8) is celebrated as CBD Day, honoring the cannabinoid known for its therapeutic properties without the psychoactive effects typically associated with THC. This day is dedicated to increasing awareness about the benefits of CBD, sharing stories of how it has helped individuals manage various health conditions, and advocating for wider acceptance and understanding of its uses. Events on CBD Day often include educational seminars, product launches, and discussions on the latest research.
June 18th — Jack Herer’s Birthday
Known as the “Emperor of Hemp,” Jack Herer was a tireless hemp activist and the author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” a book that has been instrumental in the hemp movement. Celebrating his birthday on June 18th serves as a tribute to his legacy and a reminder of the plant’s environmental and economic potential. Activities on this day often include readings from his book, hemp product exhibitions, and educational events about the environmental benefits of hemp cultivation.
Including these holidays in the cannabis calendar underscores the multifaceted nature of cannabis culture. It’s not just about consumption; it’s about advocacy, education, healing, and remembering the figures who have paved the way for the freedoms and understanding the community enjoys today. Each of these days contributes to a more comprehensive recognition of cannabis and its impact on society, politics, medicine, and the environment.
Each of these holidays offers a different perspective on cannabis culture, providing opportunities to engage with the plant and its community in a way that goes beyond mere consumption. They’re times for education, advocacy, and to remember the plant’s history and its many uses, from recreational to medicinal. As cannabis culture continues to evolve and expand, so too do these celebrations, which are as diverse and vibrant as the community itself.