Golden Gate Park’s ‘Hippie Hill’ fenced off; police say stay away this 4/20

For a second year in a row, San Francisco is canceling its annual 420 celebration in Golden Gate Park because of state and local restrictions on large gatherings.

Hippie Hill is fenced off and no gathering is allowed. 

But some people say they still plan to come to Golden Gate Park and the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood to celebrate the day.

Berner's on Haight, a cannabis dispensary, will be celebrating 420 with extra product, extra staff and extra security.

Owner Shawn Richard says this area's counter culture history is a natural magnet, "Haight Street is Hippie Hill. Everybody's just going to come just to be out and about."  

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Prior to the pandemic, large crowds would gather on 420 to smoke marijuana on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. Partiers would spill out into the surrounding neighborhood.

Last year and this year, the city put up fencing to keep people out of Hippie Hill, asking them to stay home.

"Too much traffic is always going to lead to more problems. People littering, just loitering," says Andrea Fernandez who lives on Haight Street.   

But Linda Zeidan, owner of Haight and Cole Street Liquors says no 420 Hippie Hill celebration will hurt business.

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Before the pandemic, she says she'd have to order three times the normal amount of products to meet demand.

"Thousands of people come from all over the world. It's always great for business, but I don't think it's going to be like that this year," says Zeidan.

At the Apothecarium dispensary in the Castro, the manager says business has been slow during the pandemic but that it started picking up a month ago.

"Some of the products we're going to have on sale, the state flower, our house brand," says Cali Manzello, the manager.

She expects 420 to be the busiest day since the pandemic hit.

"Business is back. I think everybody getting vaccinated. People feeling healthy. Sun is starting to come out. We've all just spent a year cramped inside," syas Manzello.   

Some customers says they're buying cannabis to celebrate 420 at Golden Gate Park.

"We'll find a way. We're just going to go outside with our masks on. Of course wherever we want to chill , we'll find a spot," says Sara Tor of San Francisco.  

"With the sun and good weather, I'm sure people will still be there even though Hippie Hill might be closed and also Haight Street nearby, I think, is a really cool place to hang out for 420," says Max Siegel of San Francisco. 

"People are already going to bars and stuff already, so why not," says Denzel Wilson who lives on Haight Street and plans to celebrate with friends.   

Recreation and Park Department says the fencing at Golden Gate Park to keep people out will remain up until Wednesday and that police and park rangers will be patrolling the area.