How California Is Prepping for an Especially Festive 4/20—Its First Since Legalizing Weed

April 19, 2018, 10:03 AM UTC

Friday is due to be a celebration unlike any prior one for Californians.

The day will mark the first 4/20—a day that celebrates marijuana—since weed was legalized in the state.

So far, California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued 47 temporary event licenses to groups across the state to hold marijuana celebrations on county fairgrounds.

In San Francisco, a city that has historic ties to the drug, city officials are preparing for tens of thousands to flock to Golden Gate Park. Unlike in years past, when groups of ‘stoners’ and marijuana enthusiasts convened somewhat surreptitiously on Golden Gate Park’s Hippie Hill, a formal event is being organized in park.

Man with arms outstretch is among pot smokers who descend on San Francisco's HIppie Hill to celebrate 4/20 Day
SAN FRANCISCO – APRIL 20: A cloud of smoke rests over the heads of a group of people during a 420 Day celebration on “Hippie Hill” in Golden Gate Park April 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and ‘smoke outs’ in many parts of the United States. Voters in California will consider a measure on the November general election ballot that could make the State the first in the nation to legalize the growing of a limited amount of marijuana for private use. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)Justin Sullivan Getty Images
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

The event is expected to draw up to 15,000 people. In an effort to supervise the celebration, the city has partnered with a private sponsor to fence off the park, put security in place, and organize shuttles for participants. Only people 18 and older will be allowed within the secured area, and no alcohol will be permitted.

Other cities have been less enthusiastic about marijuana celebrations. The San Bernardino City Council, for instance, denied an application from marijuana counter-culture magazine High Times to host what would have been one of the largest organized 4/20 events in the nation.

Across the state, AAA will be offering free “tipsy tow” services. Available from 4:20 p.m. on Friday to 4:20 a.m. on Saturday, tow trucks will provide a vehicle tow and free rides up to 10 miles.

The average 4/20 participant reportedly plans to spend $71 on marijuana to celebrate the holiday and 35% plan to take work off on Friday, according to a survey by LendEDU published by The Los Angeles Times.

Cannabis has grown into a nearly $7 billion industry, and, by one estimate, is California’s largest cash crop.