4/20 falls on a Saturday this year, and organizers are expecting a larger than usual turnout for the celebration of all things weed. That will come with added fencing, better security, and a beefed-up cleanup crew being paid for by local dispensaries.
Within the fenced perimeter of the now city-sanctioned — formerly unsanctioned and chaotic — Golden Gate Park event, no cannabis or alcohol sales are permitted, so organizer Alex Aquino tells Hoodline he was able to bring the minimum age requirement down to 18 from 21. Aquino says he hopes this will reduce the number of people spilling out into the surrounding neighborhoods of NoPa and the Haight during the actual event.
So, around Hippie Hell, within the fence, will be 8 to 10 food trucks, vendor booths, medical staff, as well as the usual music stage. And because more attendees are expected to show up, Aquino is arranging for more ambulances to be on site for those who might... overindulge.
And as SFist has documented well in years past, rules about selling drugs and edibles — as well as rules about carrying in huge glass bongs and the like — tend to be easily skirted, and there are always plenty of homemade goodies for sale, buyer beware.
SF's longstanding "street fair with weed" typically draws around 15,000 to 20,000 attendees, but that's when it often falls on a weekday. With the potential of it falling on a fair-weather Saturday, that number could balloon quite a bit.
Aquino, who owns Haight Street clothing shop Black Scale, has taken charge of the event since stepping in as its first official sponsor in 2017. The event two years ago was the first one, under then Supervisor London Breed, to be officially permitted by the city. This came after several years in which Breed worked to manage, contain, and clean up after the event, which was known to cost the city between $100,000 and $140,000, especially in clean-up costs.
This year, as Hoodline reports, the bill is expected to be around $250,000, including added porta-potties, security, and more. And paying for all that are a crew of sponsors like dispensaries Moe Greens, Barbary Coast, and Green Door, and cannabis companies Falcon Brands, Sun+Earth Certified, and High Hemp Wraps.
Editorial sidebar: While this event has always just been a "St. Patrick's Day for weed," which is less about any political purpose than it is about getting high en masse, doesn't it start to feel — now that recreational pot is legal in California — like kind of an anachronism? Given that everyone is free to go get stoned together wherever, whenever, and sparking up a joint in broad daylight on Hippie Hill is no longer some elicit activity reserved for drum-circle hippies, why do we still need 4/20? I guess it's just so that the kids can commune by the thousands and high-five each other about how great weed is outside the watchful eyes of parents and teachers? Anyway, here it comes again... and if you're not planning on going, steer clear of the Haight a week from Saturday.
A Brief History Of How 4:20 Became 4/20, Right Here In The Bay Area [SFist]
4/20 Draws 15,000 to Make Hippie Hill Go Up in Smoke [SFist]