With the biggest cannabis holiday of the year barely a week away, San Francisco’s Office of Cannabis sent out a notice for what attendees at Golden Gate Park’s Hippie Hill and Robin Williams Meadow can expect on April 20.
As with last year, when the city threw in the towel on punitive enforcement and worked with organizers to ensure a kind of pop-up safe-consumption site for cannabis—and only cannabis—2023’s celebration promises a good time, with lab-tested flower available for purchase on-site. Last year’s party drew as many as 20,000 people, and this year, there’s even more of an emphasis on yoga and wellness.
The star attraction, of course, is the announcement of headliner Erykah Badu, who will also play the afterparty at Midway under her moniker DJ Low Down Loretta Brown. The Bay Area’s own D’wayne Wiggins, from Tony! Toni! Toné!, is also set to perform alongside a slew of DJs.
As always, 420 is free to attend, although there are a lot of rules. Cannabis consumption is only allowed in specific areas, all of which are separated from the food vendors, who must have permits of their own. Attendees must be at least 21 to enter, and alcohol, tobacco, pets and weapons are prohibited, as are glass containers, tents, tables, large coolers, drones and amplified sound.
Most of those regulations are typical for outdoor festivals, but 420 also prohibits dabbing, defined as “the action or practice of inhaling small quantities of cannabis oil, resin, shatter or wax,” almost certainly because it gets too many people way too high. State law governs the maximum quantity of what people can buy: 28.5 grams of non-concentrates and 8 grams of concentrates. All cannabis consumed at the event should be purchased there—but ultimately that one is merely a recommendation.
At only 10 days out, the permit process is still ongoing, although that tight timeline is in keeping with standard operating procedure for big events like Outside Lands. To that end, the Office of Cannabis letter strikes a pleading, somewhat paternalistic tone.
“Pending permit approval, regulated cannabis sale and consumption will be available at the event again this year,” it reads. “Please familiarize yourself with the expectations required by the permit and the importance of making the celebration a success.”
That may be because permit-wrangling for an event of this nature requires an OK from more than just the Office of Cannabis—or even the San Francisco Police Department. Rec and Parks, the Department of Health, both the city’s juvenile and adult probation departments, and the SF Municipal Transportation Agency must all weigh in as well.
Assuming things go as planned, there will be free Muni shuttles running between the park and Civic Center Station, with park rangers, police officers and parking control officers in surrounding residential areas—in addition to the considerable on-site festival security and medical teams.
420 in Golden Gate Park
📍 Robin Williams Meadow and Hippie Hill
🗓️ Thursday, April 20 | 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Astrid Kane can be reached at [email protected]