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What 420 Friendly Means on a Dating Profile

Navigating the world of dating apps can be overwhelming. There’s the dilemma of choosing which dating app to join, selecting profile photos that best illustrate the depth and breadth of your personality, and determining how much information to share with a pool of complete strangers. For example, most apps have options to share your lifestyle preferences, like whether you want or have children, drink alcohol, or are cannabis-friendly. These lifestyle preferences can also be polarizing. For example, when someone you’re dating or a person you’re talking to via an online dating site mentions that they’re “420 friendly,” what do you say?

Meet the Expert

Bonny Albo is a relationship expert who has written about online dating for Dotdash and has been featured in The New York Times and Reader’s Digest.

As a dating expert, this question comes up often. Below, let’s jump in as to what “420 friendly” means in a dating profile and why it might be important to you.

What Is “420 Friendly”?

The term “420” refers to recreational marijuana use, and “420 friendly” means that the individual uses marijuana and/or is comfortable if you do, too.

Why Do People Use “420 Friendly”?

Originally, the phrase was used as code among marijuana smokers. Today, the term is prevalent with pretty much anyone who uses marijuana, although more so in North America. There are even dating sites like 420 Singles, High There!, and My 420 Mate, which cater to people with this interest. It’s also important to note that there is more than one way to use marijuana. Beyond smoking, there are edibles ranging from gummy candies to cookies, tinctures you can add to your beverage like cream and sugar or infuse into cooking, vape pens, and topicals like balms and creams. Some people use marijuana for medical reasons, while others use it for recreation.

Is Marijuana Use Illegal?

It depends on where you live, which is why people use this code to share their interest and/or openness to others using marijuana. In the U.S., recreational marijuana use is legal for adults age 21 and over in Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, Illinois, and the District of Columbia, as of September 2020.

Why Would Someone Want To Share That They’re “420 Friendly”?

I’m not going to get into the ethics or legal aspects of marijuana use, as there are others with infinitely more expertise in the field than I.

What I will say however, is this: Marijuana use, like smoking, drinking, religion, children, and politics, are all deal-breaking topics for many singles. Whether you live in an area where marijuana is legal or not, it’s eventually a discussion many of us will have at some point—again, depending on where you live, sometimes it’s a conversation that will occur more than others.

For instance, when I travel to Europe, where marijuana use in many countries (like Portugal, Croatia, and Switzerland) is decriminalized, the question of marijuana use in the context of dating rarely comes up. Yet when I’m in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada, it’s rare to see a dating profile where “420 friendly” isn’t mentioned in some way.

For some, it’s a non-issue. I’ve talked to many who don’t see smoking marijuana as a problem or who would rather date a person who already approves of their choice. In my neck of the woods, “420” commonly appears in dating site profiles, and I’ve had quite a few folks tell me they’re uninterested in dating unless their potential partner is a pot smoker, pot activist, or at the very least, tolerant of its occasional use.

Review an explanation as to why people use the term 420 friendly in their dating profiles and why it matters.

What 420 Means in the Pot Smoking Culture

Amy Morin, LCSW, is a psychotherapist, international bestselling author and host of the Mentally Strong People podcast.

Doug Menuez / Photodisc / Getty Images

The term 420 is a word used to reference pot smoking. While the term was historically used as a “code” to designate someone’s activities or beliefs, such as “420 friendly,” most people are now aware of its association with marijuana.

Despite the popularity of the term, most people have no idea how or why 420 became associated with marijuana. There are a lot of myths and stories about its origins.

Known 420 Myths

There are many rumors floating around about why the term 420 is used. Here are some of the most popular myths:

Myth: Police dispatch code for smoking pot is 420.

The number 420 is not actually a police radio code for anything. Although it was widely suggested that 420 was associated with the California Penal Code, 420 refers to a law about public land.  

​Myth: There are approximately 420 active chemicals in marijuana.

There are actually more like 315 active chemicals in marijuana. This number goes up and down depending on the make-up of the marijuana.

Myth: April 20th is National Pot Smokers Day.

While some people believed April 20th is the day you should start growing your marijuana crop, others believed it was some sort of holiday. But neither is true. Instead, the term 420 led people to think April 20 was somehow associated with marijuana. The date doesn’t actually have any significance.

Myth: April 20th is Hitler’s birthday.

Although that was Hitler’s birth date, the term 420 referred to a time, not a date. And his birthday had nothing to do with it.

Myth: April 20th is the date of the Columbine school shootings.

Although the Columbine shooting occurred on April 20th, 1999, the term was already in place long before the incident.

The Origin Revealed

According to Steve Bloom, an editor at High Times magazine, the term 420 originated at San Rafael High School, in 1971.  

A group of about a dozen people who called themselves the Waldos met up to smoke marijuana at 4:20 every day. Rather than announce they were going to get high, they used to the code 420.

Apparently, the term spread. Over the years, its origins were lost but the “code” stuck.

What It Means to Today’s Teens

While the term 420 has been around for a long time, the internet hasn’t. And many of today’s teens are accessing pictures, games, and websites that glorify marijuana on a regular basis.

Of course, many teens have no idea that it’s an old phrase. So they use the slang term liberally in front of adults, thinking it’s a secret term developed by today’s drug subculture.

Thinking that it’s cool to smoke marijuana every day at 4:20, or assuming you have to participate in smoking on April 20th, can lead teens to join in.

Social media often glorifies drug use and it’s easier than ever for teens to get caught up in thinking “everyone is doing it.”  

The legalization of marijuana in some states, or the term “medical marijuana,” may lead teens to believe marijuana is safe to use.  

The term 420 has been around for a long time, but most people have no idea how it became associated with pot.