Marijuana clouds are on the horizon: 4/20 approaches in less than a month, and this year, for the first time in San Francisco, the city will be permitting the annual smoke-in at Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. CBS 5 confirms that news, which not coincidentally follows recreational pot legalization in California. And as Hoodline hinted yesterday, a permitted event will pave the way for sponsors like local Haight Street merchants who can help shoulder costs.
An estimated 8,000 people partook of 4/20 in the park last year, an event whose growing numbers have made it harder and harder for city departments to turn their usual blind eye. To clean up 11 tons of garbage stoned people left in the park last year cost the city $25,000.
Yearly talk about banning the event has gone nowhere: “We’ve had discussions about how to end this event," Mayor Lee tells CBS 5, "but the reality is that it would break into four or five different events and then we couldn’t control any of it.”
Sarah Madland, the Recreation and Parks Department's public affairs and policy director, tells the news station that formalizing the event could benefit all parties involved. “This has been a rogue kind of spontaneous thing... People come in and do everything they can to make a mess.” This year, she says, "Things like porta potties, trash cans, making sure there is a traffic plan, making sure there is an ambulance on site," will add to safety and cut down on costs that the event would likely incur anyway.
Alex Aquino, owner of Haight Street’s Black Scale clothing, is one sponsor going in on the event this year. “Basically we are trying to help the city and the park bring some infrastructure to make it safe and clean," he told CBS 5. Speaking to Hoodline, Aquino said Black Scale may provide fencing, security, and toilets.
One thing it might not be bringing to the park: Pot paraphernalia for sale at a vendor's table. Questions like that one are still being weighed by the city.
But at least Stanley Roberts won't have any excuse to wander around filming people doing illegal things, because it's all legal now.
Related: 4/20's Enormous Mess, By The Numbers