San Francisco’s Annual 420 Fest Now a City Permitted Event

With its typical San Francisco lack of brevity, the city by the bay has finally admitted its annual rogue 420 celebration will never be extinguished. And in typical San Francisco style, the city has had to admit, if they can’t beat these damn stoners, well, they might as well join them.

Which is why this year, with recreational pot legal within the state of California, 4/20 will be a city-permitted event. With city endorsement now in tow, sponsors have come clamoring to grab their share of the recreational pie. Therefore expect this April’s 420 fest to be a tad more structured than previous years, complete with fences and gates paid for by neighboring Haight Street merchants.

How this new city-sponsored 420 fest will work on the ground level hasn’t been clarified, as historically the celebration has been a no-holds-barred day of pot imbibing and unruly, if not unchecked behavior. Annually the city spends on average $50,000 on post 420 clean-up costs alone, and anyone, regardless of age, could attend. This year, however, the event would be limited to people 18 and over-although there’s no official plan for checking identifications.

Another lingering question is whether the ban on smoking in city parks would be enforced for the duration of a sanctioned event celebrating pot smoking, or, like the event itself, the city momentarily turns a blind eye? 

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, “We’ve had discussions about how to end this event, but the reality is that it would break into four or five different events and then we couldn’t control any of it.”

So instead of “beating” the fest, the city is naturally looking to profit from it.

“Basically we are trying to help the city and the park bring some infrastructure to make it safe and clean,” said local Haight Street merchant Alex Aquino.

Sarah Madland Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department noted that the city will now to do more to curb the mountains of refuse that accumulate during the stoney celebration. 

The city will provide “…things like porta-potties, trash cans, making sure there is a traffic plan, making sure there is an ambulance on site.” she said. 

Although it’s technically illegal to smoke in city parks, Mayor Ed Lee acknowledges there’s not much the city can do in regards to enforcing that law either. 

You know it’s, it’s like critical mass, just like the pillow fights at Justin Herman Plaza: People come.” the Mayor stated. 

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