Pot enthusiasts in Santa Cruz prepare for 4/20 toker tradition

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- Business is booming at marijuana dispensaries across the Bay Area ahead of Saturday's "4/20" celebration.

In Santa Cruz, CannaCruz dispensary is gearing up for the toker tradition.

"I think this is going to be the biggest 4/20 celebration ever," CannaCruz CEO Grant Palmer told ABC7 News. "Absolutely, no doubt."

RELATED: Huge crowds expected to attend 4/20 smoke out celebration at Golden Gate Park

Not only does April 20 fall on a weekend this year, but it's also the first celebration since recreational marijuana use was legalized in California.

"Everybody could just walk into the store and buy their own product now," Palmer said. "Before, it was all... you know... I don't know how to say it..."

"There was a gray area," Palmer joked.

Miles away, the entrance to the University of California, Santa Cruz sits on High Street. On 4/20, some might argue the street name takes on an all new meaning.

An infamous "smoke out," not sanctioned by the university, is expected to draw thousands of pot enthusiasts to a meadow on the far outskirts of campus.

The university has made very clear its stance against the annual event.

"School's like, stressing that it's unsanctioned," a UCSC sophomore, who wished to be anonymous, said. "Stressing that they don't want people to partake. They're offering alternatives."

Options include a sober space. A message out to the campus community details enforcement efforts, involving UC police and CHP Santa Cruz.

Laws are listed. The university's message explained possessing, selling, or smoking weed and even driving while high are all against the law.

However, those we spoke with say the warning does little to stop the celebration.

"I don't think it's deterring anyone, honestly," the same sophomore said.

In years past, tens of thousands of pot enthusiasts have made that meadow the place to be on 4/20.

The calendar might say April 20, but for marijuana advocates, it's their annual chance to gather by the thousands to smoke it.

UCSC Freshman Ethan Yang told ABC7 News, "It's just hanging out with friends in the end. Nothing special."

Santa Cruz Police explained it will be business as usual for the City of Santa Cruz. Adding, any increase in enforcement would come from UC Police.

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