Thousands expected at SF's Golden Gate Park Wednesday to celebrate 4/20

Thousands of people are expected at Golden Gate Park this Wednesday to celebrate marijuana on 4/20, or April 20th, as it will be.

In past years, 4/20 day has led to complaints about everything from criminal activity to the piles of garbage left behind at mass gatherings like the one on ‘Hippie Hill’ in the park. But this year, a medical marijuana dispensary has volunteered to help clean up.

There’s a good chance white clouds rising from ground zero for tokers won’t be fog. Instead, it’s likely to be plumes of pungent marijuana smoke.

Jill Anderegg says she will be among the anticipated 10,000 to 15,000 people attending 4/20. It’s an annual daylong celebration that culminates at 4:20 with a group inhale. 

“It's the only gathering where the people who are cannabis patients come together to make magic happen,” Anderegg says.

One man who works near the park says he doesn’t want any part of it and plans to take work off on Wednesday, but not because of the drugs. He says it’s a major traffic issue and he doesn’t like the trash that gets left behind.

The trash that lingers after the celebrants have left has become a huge headache for the city, which doesn’t issue permits for the gathering since marijuana is still illegal in California.

The city estimates 10,000 pounds of trash was left behind last year.

Medithrive, a Mission-based medical marijuana dispensary is offering to clean up as a gesture of goodwill. They’ve enlisted about 15 volunteers to help those efforts along with a small army of city workers.

“We will be collecting all the trash, making a run to the dump so we can make sure the city looks as great as it did before the event started,” said Sheryl Clark with Medithrive.

The dispensary doesn’t want a negative connotation associated with the 4/20 gathering in any way.

“It's just about us reaching out into our community and being part of the effort to ensure we do our part as being part of the industry,” said Clark.

Police say undercover officers will be at the event looking for people dealing hard drugs like meth and have already arrested seven dealers in preparation for 4/20.

Last year, an officer was struck by a bottle and several fights broke out after the Haight Street event.

“Those who plan on creating any havoc; we plan to be swift in arresting and removing those individuals from the area, so the area can remain safe,” said Capt. John Sanford with SFPD.

Traffic in the area is expected to be brutal and parking spaces scarce. If you are planning on heading to Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, you’re advised to take public transportation, especially drivers who’ve been celebrating.