San Francisco 4/20 event canceled at Hippie Hill

In a surprise announcement Tuesday, organizers of the annual 4/20 Hippie Hill event in Golden Gate Park said the cannabis celebration will not be happening as planned this year.

Organizers said that cuts in the city budget made staffing difficult while the climate of the cannabis industry made it difficult to secure sponsors this year.

The event is jointly put on by the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and event organizer Sounds Bazaar.

"We have been unable to secure enough financial sponsorship to get everything required for a safe, clean, city & state-compliant event," the group posted, promising to return next year.


Marijuana users smoke marijuana during a 420 Day celebration on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park on April 20, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

"Unfortunately with the cannabis industry so bad right now, we didn’t have enough sponsor support with the cannabis industry like we did in the past," organizer Alex Aquino told KTVU.

SF Recreation and Park spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton says the budget is to blame for the buzzkill.

"The city’s in a budget crunch. So we just couldn’t cover the extra staff time, the overtime of rangers, the cleanup, so it was going to be more expensive," she said. 

The wild party is usually held on April 20 when teens in Marin County known as 'The Waldos' got together to smoke marijuana after school at 4:20 p.m. 

San Francisco calls it the largest free cannabis event in the state.

Last year, 20,000 people packed Golden Gate Park.

The reaction on social media was swift.

"Canceled? That's what they think!!," Dolores LouLou Salcido wrote on Facebook. 

"They still gonna show up and smoke," Kenya Stafford said, using puffs of smoke emojis.

And Alex Leal posted what was on everyone's mind: "Yeah right, people still going to flock to SF. Organized event or not." 

Park spokeswoman Tamara Barak Aparton said there will be sports activities held that day. SF Recreation and Park Department has partnered with Volo Sports to run volleyball and kickball tournaments at Robin Williams Meadow on April 20, she said.

4/20 organizers and park officials stressed there won’t be a stage or live music or cannabis booths in Golden Gate Park like in previous years, encouraging revelers to skip the trip and instead celebrate a day of cannabis in a place that’s special and local to them.  

While the actual 4/20 party is officially canceled, the park department highlighted that the first SF Weed Week kicks off in San Francisco on April 13 and runs past April 20.

They said it should bring in thousands of Bay Area smokers and tourists during seven nights of top-shelf growers premiering world-class strains at city lounges.

Over the years, San Francisco began somewhat reluctantly embracing the event, which started as an unsanctioned party. 

But with the city's involvement also came more control, cleanliness and cost. Last year, the event included 100 security guards and more than 150 portable toilets, a cleanup crew and extra patrol officers. 

The high holiday has taken a hiatus before.

The 4/20 celebrations were also canceled for two years in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID.