SAN FRANCISCO – April 20 does not mark any special significance on the calendar, unless you ask marijuana advocates.
Monday’s 420 celebration brought around 10,000 people to Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to celebrate the unofficial day of marijuana and to push for its legalization.
Some Filipino American marijuana advocates here say recreational marijuana should be legal in California, just like in Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska.
According to a recent Pew Research Poll, over half of adults favor legal use of marijuana, up from 32 percent in 2006.
“It’s all over the City,” said local rapper Aukwin. “It’s all over the Bay Area. It’s happening in California. It’s happening in Washington DC so they kind of light-weight hate that. We’re taking money away from their pockets.”
“It was important for me to come out today because these are one of those things where we see people of all ages, all types come together to support a cause to legalize marijuana,” said Mateo, a San Francisco native. “We have people from all over and the Filipino presence here is great. You see a lot of support from all sorts of Asian and other countries.”
Some opponents against the push to legalize recreational use of pot in California say that today’s marijuana is far too dangerous, especially for teenagers.
“The reason is the addiction is quicker,” said Lynn Fox. “The drug is stronger. Youth are thinking that ‘Hey it’s not as bad as tobacco’.”
Police were present, but mostly just to keep order. They said there were too many people at the celebration to give out citations for smoking weed in public.
“You see people selling, smoking right in front of the cops,” said Mateo. “It’s not the people here that are getting in trouble from the cops for being high. It’s the people drinking alcohol, making the wrong choices.”
According to authorities, there were five arrests at the event – one for assault with a deadly weapon, two more for outstanding warrants, and two for intoxication.
But this mostly peaceful event comes with a big price tag come clean-up time.
San Francisco spent more than $100,000 picking up trash and providing extra security during last year’s celebration.
Follow Rommel Conclara on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.