The History of 420 in Michigan

420 is an important, community-wide symbol in Michigan and in the broader cannabis world. When the clock strikes 4:20 every day, it can serve as a reminder of the movement toward better access to this vital plant. We also look to April 20, the day of 4/20, to honor and celebrate cannabis. As our favorite green holiday approaches, we want to fill you in on some 420 history. 


What is 420, anyway? What 420 events can you look forward to this year? The history experts over at our Michigan recreational dispensary have the answers, so let’s dive in.


What is 420?

Nowadays, 4/20 is a well-known holiday that takes place on 4/20, April 20th, to celebrate the cannabis culture. However, the holiday’s origins are likely much simpler. We say “likely” because it’s not 100% confirmed where the start of 420 truly originated. This only adds to its mystique and intrigue. Regardless, the most credible story to date for “What is 420?” goes all the way back to a group of California high school students by the names of Mark Gravichin, Jeffrey Noel, Steve Capper, Larry Schartz, and Dave Reddix — their names will be relevant in just a moment.


As they later told the tale, these five students met up at a statue of Louis Pasteur on campus at 4:20 pm to head out on a hunt for some marijuana plants that they had heard were up for grabs. The time was chosen because it allowed the group to finish up their separate extracurricular and after-school activities before they all met up. This meeting evolved into a ritual that became a part of their routine. The friend group would eventually use the phrase, “420” to reference all manner of things cannabis or that it was time to go smoke. That brings us to the biggest question, though. How did a group of five high school friends coin a phrase that evolved into an entire global representation of cannaculture?



Unfurling Some 420 History


Two of the five students, Gravitch and Reddix, had direct connections with members of the band the Grateful DeadWhen the teens were hanging out backstage at concerts, they’d use the 420 phrase to reference cannabis. Surprise, surprise — it caught on. It still didn’t make its way into mainstream culture until 1990, though. 


In 1990, a group of Grateful Dead fans in Oakland got inspired to encourage people to partake in a glorious and decentralized movement. The group spread flyers inviting people to all light up on 4/20 at exactly 4:20. This one of many 420 events found its way into the hands of High Times magazine’s Steve Bloom. Bloom passed the flyer to his editors, which resulted in it making print in 1991. And the rest, as they say, is history.


Final Thoughts


What’s better than 420? 10 days of celebrating 420! All our Pleasantrees Michigan locations are running a BOGO on flower and pre-rolls from April 13th to the 23rd (April 13-23). As a top Michigan recreational dispensary network, we have what you need at our MI locations in Hamtramck, East Lansing, Lincoln Park, Houghton Lake, and Mt Clemens. 


On the day of 4/20 itself—Wednesday, April 20th, 2022—EVERY product at ALL our locations will be BOGO! Be sure to stop by one of our dispensaries in MI soon for more details about our upcoming 420 events and deals you just can’t beat.