Every year thousands of cannabis enthusiasts converge in San Francisco on April 20, but this year, for the first time, the city will grant their blessing to the event.
Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California plays home to a 420 party every year. This year however is different. This is the first 420 to be held since the state legalized recreational cannabis last November. In the past, thousands of cannabis aficionados would descend on the park’s “Hippie Hill” to celebrate the cannabis holiday.
The city’s Recreation and Parks Department Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Sarah Madland, spoke recently about the event. “This has been a rogue kind of spontaneous thing. And for just as long, the city’s police and officials have chosen to sit back, hope for the best and then spend around $50,000 cleaning up after everyone.’ Madland said.
After years of battling with the event, they have decided to stop fighting with the organizers and attempt to make the event easier to control through cooperation. So the city had made the decision to make the event a permitted gathering with sponsors and perimeter fences and gates provided by neighboring merchants.
“Basically we are trying to help the city and the park bring some infrastructure to make it safe and clean,” Alex Aquino, a local merchant, said.
For their part, Madland says they will help with, “Things like porta potties, trash cans, making sure there is a traffic plan, making sure there is an ambulance on site.”
Regardless of the city’s stance though, it is still illegal to consume cannabis at the park. When asked about the mixed message, Madland said, “Welcome to San Francisco.”
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said they had discussed ending the event once and for all, but resigned that the organized event would simply devolve into a number of lesser organized events. “You know it’s, it’s like critical mass, just like the pillow fights at Justin Herman Plaza: People come,” Lee said.