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420 returns to Golden Gate Park with sales of cannabis for the first time

Smoke will once again be billowing through the air in Golden Golden Gate Park Wednesday as city officials Monday announced the return of the 420 event.

This year will mark the return of the 420 event after city leaders canceled it during the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Organizer and Haight Street merchant Alex Aquino will once again organize the event as he has done in the years past before the pandemic.

Before Aquino took the helm the event, Mayor London Breed said the once unsanctioned event took place whether city officials liked it or not, but has said The City has worked on making the event safe for attendees:

Over the years and working with the cannabis industry, we’ve been able to make adjustments in order to provide the appropriate safety and restroom facilities and the cleanup necessary in order to ensure that this was not as problematic on the people who live and visit the area.”

Approved cannabis businesses for the first time will be able to legally sell their products at the event. No one under 21 will be allowed into the event, city officials said citing state regulations.

Nikesh Patel, San Francisco Office of Cannabis director, said that the sales of cannabis at the event was a “special moment” and “fitting” for The City, adding:

It’s also a really important moment because how this event goes will dictate how future cannabis events will go. The success of this event will set the tone for other events.”

Other rules at the event include no smoking in areas within 20 feet of where people can purchase cannabis or food, Patel said. Additionally, alcohol and any weapons will not be allowed inside the event.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency Director of Transportation Jeffrey Tumlin encouraged attendees to take public transit. Tumlin said there will be extra service running on the 7-Haight/Noriega route and the N-Judah. There will also be street closures around the area, the agency said.

Parking control officers will be on hand to direct traffic, but also to address 311 complaints, Breed said. The mayor encouraged residents to call 311 for blocked driveways or illegally parked vehicles.

Police Chief Bill Scott said there will be a police presence in “full force” at the event. Fire prevention personnel will be on the scene for the entire event, Fire Chief Jeanine Nicholson said.

Breed said while The City is “reluctantly welcoming 420,” officials will make changes to future events if it becomes “harmful” or “unsafe,” adding:

We’re asking everyone who comes to attend this event to come with excitement and happiness and a desire to have joy during the event.”

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