Stoners Still Gathered at Hippie Hill for 4/20 Celebration Despite Event Cancellation

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The city-sanctioned event wasn’t held this year, but consumers still went to Hippie Hill and smoked in unison on April 20.

Although the official city-sanctioned 4/20 celebration on Hippie Hill in San Francisco was canceled this year, it still attracted thousands of people to gather on the holiday.

According to a report from SFGate, whose representatives spoke with some of the attendees, the cancellation didn’t hinder anyone’s plans. Jessica Leung told SFGate that she was excited to be there and surprised by the amount of people who still showed up. “4/20 is my favorite holiday,” Leung said.

The lower part of the hill was roped off with chains to host a “Peace, Love and Volo Field Day,” free event, inviting people to play cornhole, kickball, and volleyball. The upper part of the hill was deemed the “spectator area” for fans to chill on the lawn in the sun. Other vendors attended as well, selling art portraits and various other goods. Food trucks were also in attendance, which led to long lines.

Past city-sanctioned 4/20 celebrations at Hippie Hill included on-site portable toilets, medical support, and an increase in hired staff. Even though the official event was canceled, the city was still able to provide portable restrooms and San Francisco Recreation and Parks staff to patrol the area.

Some attendees commented on the people’s drive to celebrate. One longtime 4/20 celebrator, Chandra Edelstein, said that there was more freedom at this year’s event now that it had less city restrictions. “I expected it to be packed,” said Edelstein. “People still flock here and the energy is amazing.”

Another visitor, Alex Diaz, added that they planned to be there regardless of city involvement. “We’re out here to have a good time, and not expecting anything,” Diaz said.

Attendee Dalano Rhyne said that she prefers this year’s “scaled-down” version of the event. “I’m here I’m doing my own thing … so I’m having a good day and this was blank when I got here, so that’s a great day,” Rhyne said as she put together a cardboard art installation featuring signatures and drawings from other attendees.

Steve Banuelos and his group of longtime friends said they were hesitant to attend after the event cancellation, but decided to go anyway because “it may turn out to be something.” “Well, we’re all retired now, so what the hell else are we going to do with our time?” Banuelos said.

The 2023 Hippie Hill event was a massive gathering, which featured Erykah Badu as grand marshal and instructed attendees to “Put your weed in the air” at 4:20pm. “For a lot of us, this is our medicine,” Badu said. “This shit is here to take you to a higher place.”

Last year’s event also featured a “King of Z Hill” competition pitting growers against each other for the title of best weed and best concentrates. “Some of the most exotic flavors in the world come out of the West Coast right here in San Francisco,” said King of Z Hill organizer, Brandon Parker.

One competitor, SoCal Dank’s Joe Evans, explained that competitions like King of Z Hill aren’t about winning, but networking with others. This certainly attests to the evolution of the cannabis industry over the years, and the stark differences between the 2023 and 2024 Hippie Hill events.

This year’s Hippie Hill event cancellation was announced on March 25, citing city budget cuts and a lack of sponsors. However, the organizers did confirm that the sponsored event should be returning in 2025.

The cancellation paved the way for other celebratory events to take the spotlight. SF Weed Week held its inaugural event, celebrating 4/20 in a variety of ways through the week leading up to 4/20. SF Weed Week founding advisor, Ben Grambergu, explained the importance of spotlighting local growers. “The organizers of Hippie Hill deserved a break, and SF Weed Week is here to extend the celebration across the entire city with the best cultivators in the world sharing their gift with the most dedicated enthusiasts in the world,” said Grambergu. “Look, the Bay Area has and always will be an epicenter of cannabis culture. SF Weed Week is proving to the doom loop haters that the scene is thriving. With a week full of incredible activations, world-class cannabis, and meet and greets with the rockstars who produced it; this event has something for everyone.”

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art recently put up a new display at its gift shop to sell ceramic bongs. Each of the pieces are part of a collection called Weed’d, which are beautiful display-worthy items ranging between $50-$195. According to museum store buyer Camille Verboort, they chose this selection of bongs because they offered “sculptural quality and bold primary colors.”

Verboort added that since the museum features alcohol-related items, it’s time for them to also feature cannabis-related items as well. “We currently sell bar items quite well and, this being San Francisco, thought we could make room for cannabis accessories if we found designs that made sense for us,” Verboort said.

Weed’d is created by Italian designers who sought to “challenge the traditional narrative” and stigma often associated with bongs. One designer, Maddalena Casadei, shared that she had never used a bong before, which allowed her to experiment with the design process. ‘“The round shapes go along with the softness of the experience of using it. It is in fact designed to give pleasure through touch as well,” Casadei said.

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