Organizers, officials explain why SF's popular 420 Hippie Hill event is canceled this year

ByTim Johns KGO logo
Wednesday, March 27, 2024
Popular 420 event at SF's Hippie Hill canceled this year
San Francisco's annual 420 celebration at Hippie Hill is canceled this year due to a lack of sponsorship money and budget cuts.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of San Francisco's most popular events is officially going up in smoke this year.

The city announced Tuesday that its annual 420 event at Hippie Hill in April which brings thousands of people to Golden Gate Park has been canceled.

"We wanted to support this amazing event that celebrates plant medicine," said Alex Aquino, the event's organizer.

He says the cancellation is because of two main factors.

One is a lack of sponsor money.

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Aquino tells ABC7 News many in the cannabis industry are struggling, with much of their business being undercut by non-licensed vendors.

"Please support these brands that are sponsoring us. Go to the local shops and buy," he said.

On top of the lack of sponsorship money, San Francisco officials say city budget cuts were also a factor.

"It usually costs about $40,000 and the city's in a budget crunch. So we just couldn't pay to staff it this year," Tamara Barak Aparton of the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department.

The city's Recreation and Park Department says instead of the 420 event, it will host volleyball and kickball tournaments at the site.

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At 4:20 p.m. today pot smokers will celebrate this unofficial holiday.

"Can people still go to the park and sit down and celebrate in the way they know how? Sure, but they can do that at any park," said Barak Aparton. "There's not going to be anything special about coming all the way to Hippie Hill."

420's cancellation is a disappointment to thousands across the Bay Area.

Aquino says for many it's a part of the city's rich culture.

"Just us as promoters and natives here that live in San Francisco that love these cultural events, we need to support them all across the board," he said.

That's why Aquino says he and his team are already planning for next year, hoping to bring back the celebration bigger than ever before.

"There's a lot of work that goes into these things," he said. "A lot of people, a lot of patrons don't understand the capacity of throwing these kinds of events."

Organizers released the following statement on Monday:

"Unfortunately, the 420 Hippie Hill event in Golden Gate Park will not be happening as planned this year-due to city wide budget cutbacks, the climate of the cannabis industry & economy we have been unable to secure enough financial sponsorship to get everything required for a safe, clean, city & state compliant event. We will be back next year! Until then, please join us at Carnaval SF May 25-26,2024."

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