SAN FRANCISCO - An event that usually brings tens of thousands of people to San Francisco isn’t happening on Monday, as all 4/20 public celebrations are canceled in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Instead of seeing crowds at Golden Gate Park's Hippie Hill smoking marijuana, there are fences surrounding the area. Police are there, poised to cite and arrest people for going against the order to stay home. Roadblocks will also be set up around Golden Gate Park so people can’t get to the popular hill.
At a news conference last week, Mayor London Breed was very clear with her message to stay away – she said don’t come to San Francisco, as the city isn’t welcoming any gatherings for 4/20. The police chief echoed the same message.
Organizers posted a cancelation notice on the event’s website. But they still want people to celebrate by supporting local dispensaries.
This year's 4/20 celebration will not occur in real life.
"We're not giving up on 4/20," said Sara Moser-Feinberg of the Apothecarium cannabis dispensary. "And have a nice time. We're suggesting that people do 4/20 in place. We're highly encouraging people to order for pickup and delivery."
"So we're offering all sorts of ways to celebrate online," said Eliot Dobris from The Apothecarium. "We're posting a Spotify playlist for 4/20. And for newcomers we're offering online consultations so they can learn how to safely use the products that they are purchasing."
Many organizers created the idea for the Great American Shesh In is a virtual music and art festival that starts at 11 a.m. All proceeds from the online event will go to first responders.
“I can’t believe we managed to pull it off," said Debby Goldsberry of Magnolia Wellness. "We started organizing it 22 days ago and we pulled off a national festival online live stream with the best talent in the industry, B-Real, Tommy Chong, a whole bunch of DJs, a boatload of luminaries from the cannabis industry.”
Goldsberry added: “It’s OK to take a day off from worry. It’s 4/20, it’s OK we can actually celebrate this one day. We’re going to stay inside, we’re going to have fun, we’re going to be together separately, we’re going to raise money for first responders, we’re just going to relax take a day off of worry.”
Although most seem to be heeding the warning, the city is not taking any chances that some cannabis enthusiasts may try to move the party to another park, so city workers are patrolling potential hot spots. "Our rangers are out at Dolores Park," said Tamara Barak Aparton from San Francisco Recreation and Parks. "The weather's a little nicer there, people like to congregate and we're out there just doing some outreach to make sure they use the park safely."
Sara Zendehnam is a reporter forKTVU. Email Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter@szendehnam
KTVU's Christien Kafton contributed to this story.