An annual celebration of marijuana consumption went up in smoke as the coronavirus puts out yet another social gathering.
Each year on April 20, people roll into San Francisco, California, to demonstrate their support for marijuana legalization in a massive, unsanctioned gathering at the Robin Williams Meadow, otherwise known as “Hippie Hill.” With the coronavirus pandemic closing down most of the state, Mayor London Breed begged residents to celebrate the day at home.
“I want to be clear with people who come to San Francisco on 4/20 to Robin Williams Meadow to celebrate 4/20,” Breed said. “Do not come to San Francisco on 4/20. We will not allow this unsanctioned event to occur this year, especially at the height of a pandemic.”
The city has never condoned the annual celebration as laws restrict smoking marijuana in public. In previous years, officials have fenced off some areas and banned alcohol to make the event “a lot more manageable.” Breed noted that managing the unsanctioned event had been “a challenge for us for so many years.” Last year, more than 19,000 people attended the gathering.
Breed said the city planned to block the celebration this year, with police closing the park and placing roadblocks and fencing to keep people from gathering.
“We will not tolerate anyone coming to San Francisco for 4/20 this year,” Breed said, adding: “I just want to say for your own health and safety, please do not come. Please do not come. Please do not try and identify another location. It is not safe for us to gather in large groups of people, especially during a pandemic, because the consequences could be deadly.”
Marijuana sales and use have spiked since stay-at-home orders have been issued across the country. Many states that have legalized recreational and medical marijuana have deemed dispensaries essential businesses.
As of Wednesday morning, California had 25,779 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 790 related deaths.