San Francisco

'Stigma Has Been Lifted': Bay Area Celebrates First Legal 4/20

Friday marked a 4/20 celebration like never before.

The annual day when thousands take part in the ceremonious marijuana smokeout has a slightly different air about it this year now that recreational pot has been legalized in California.

"The stigma has been lifted," said Andrew Deangelo, the director of operations at Harborside Health Center in Oakland.

Deangelo said the demographic of people who have been coming to the dispensary since the legalization has changed.

"A lot them are your grandmother or you father, a lot of folks over the age of 50, 55 years old are coming in to the dispensary and feeling safe and comfortable," Deangelo explained.

One of the biggest 4/20 celebrations was at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park at Hippie Hill at the east end of the park. Around 20,000 people lit up their marijuana product of choice at 4:20 p.m.

San Francisco Police Department said they made three arrests for DUI involving marijuana usage. Six people were evacuated, while 12 others were transported for medical care, officials said. 

Attendees said the vibe at this year's Hippie Hill was different, being the first year it's celebrated since the legalization of the recreational drug.

"It's better because you don't have to (be) in fear of like someone is going to snitch on you," said Cameron Jenkins from Oakland. "It’s about having a good time and no misconceptions about weed!”

But while marijuana consumption is now legal, the California Highway Patrol is reminding people that it's still illegal to drive under the influence.

"The big message we want to get out is if you're going to partake, then do it responsibly, just like alcohol," CHP spokesman Officer Vu Williams said. "You still can't consume it or be under the influence while you're driving. That's the big thing we're going to be out looking for."

Williams said it's illegal even to smoke pot inside a non-moving vehicle, and if a driver has marijuana in the vehicle, it must be sealed. He said the CHP will have additional patrols during the day and at nighttime Friday.

"We're going to see quite a big increase in use, if you will, and we're concerned, of course, about the amount of impaired driving and collisions that may come with that," he said.

Copyright BAYCN - Bay City News
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