There will be no Hippie Hill 420 festival. Some San Francisco weed gurus say, so what?

Andrew J. Campa, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Lifestyles

Dolan said the 420 festival had become "corporatized and over-regulated" and had veered away from the spirit of Hippie Hill's first gatherings.

"420 in GG Park has a long, storied history that dates back for decades before the fences, ID checks, and litany of restrictions that came along with a city-sponsored and corporate-backed event," Dolan said in an emailed statement.

Hippie Hill's proximity to the famed Haight-Ashbury neighborhood transformed the site, which is in the Robin Williams Meadow section of Golden Gate Park.

Beatle George Harrison is said to have played his guitar at Hippie Hill in 1967 and led a march from the park to the Haight.

The area became a meeting spot for artists, antiwar protesters, poets and others in the late '60s, noted Brian Applegarth, founder of Bay Area-based Applegarth Strategies, a data-driven consultancy with a specialty in cannabis.

Applegarth referred to the event's cancellation as "unfortunate" but said it wouldn't dent cannabis-based travel to San Francisco, which the consultancy tracks as part of its services.

About 52 million Americans consumed marijuana in 2022, according to a report released by the Center for Advancing Health, an organization of health experts who specialize in medical research and reporting.

Applegarth estimates that about 40% of what he calls the "active leisure audience" are designing travel with cannabis in mind.

He described those travelers as enjoying "the culture and the history" of a destination, "along with the product."


Like they do at Hippie Hill, he said.

"Destination-wise, Hippie Hill has been an attractive place for 420 for decades, long before it was a ticketed event or there were food vendors," Applegarth said. "People will still visit and celebrate the activism, the history and the weed before and after 420."

As for 420, Obsidian Dispensary owner Alex Asefaw said he still expected the city to be buzzing with activity.

"A lot of people are going to still come out and celebrate the day regardless if there is a festival or not," he said. "We're anticipating the same crowds here and not much else to change."

Aquino, the festival organizer, encouraged eventgoers to "support their local equity brands, dispensaries, and lounges on 420 as we all celebrate plant medicine."

Applegarth suggested those wanting to take part in celebrations visit during San Francisco Weed Week, April 13-20, or visit some of the dispensaries, galleries, parks and other sites highlighted on Oakland's Cannabis Trail.

"In reality, 420 has not been canceled; it has been revived," Dolan said. "This gathering belongs to the people and to our cannabis community, and I am sure we're going to see one of the best 420s ever in 2024."

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