Hippie Hill, the famed ground zero for high holiday 4/20, will host the annual non-permitted, unsanctioned event next Wednesday, one clouded by marijuana smoke and sometimes poor judgment. Last year's tally of five arrests and a scant few edible-induced freak-outs was tame by usual standards — the celebrations have been known to become an expensive potpocalypse of debris and detritus with the occasional brawl thrown in. This year, parents are told that bringing their children to the event would result in their arrest. I would ask what such parents were smoking, but that should be patently obvious.
The current state of affairs has led homegrown San Francisco rapper Berner (née Gilbert Milam Jr.), a figure whose rise to fame includes a contract with Wiz Khalifa's music label and a clothing line, Cookies, headquartered in the Haight, to formulate a new plan. As Berner tells the Chronicle, he'd like to formalize the 4/20 event, attempting to persuade the city it might even do well to profit from the festivities that attract 30,000 souls to Golden Gate Park.
“We’re in the process of trying to work out a way that we can work it with the city without getting in trouble for big buses stopping in front of Golden Gate Park, and going downtown. It’s been a little obstacle, but initially that was our idea," Berner said.
To eliminate messes, headaches, and general hassles, Berner hopes the city will bring in food, entertainment, and transportation options, rather than simply the usual uptick in police presence. "Ultimately the plan is to do something in the park where the party is, where everybody is," Berner argues. "Why doesn’t the city let someone come monetize it, take responsibility for it, and make some money with the city?"
Of course, with recreational marijuana still illegal in California, it might be a literal pipe dream. For now, the icon is content to bring the party to his annual concert, "Berner Presents Hippie Hill," at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. This year, Cypress Hill is in tow. And as far as the real Hippie Hill, says Berner, perhaps alluding to legalization in 2017, "If it doesn’t get done this year, it’s gonna get done next year."