It seems 4/20 isn't the only holiday on a marijuana aficionado's calendar -- in fact, around these parts there's a more important -- if more obscure -- fete just a few weeks afterward. That'd be Cannabis Freedom Day, which is traditionally the first Saturday in May.
That's this Saturday, May 1. While, in the past there's been some confusion if it's called Cannabis Awareness Day, Cannabis Freedom Day, or ...eh, it escapes us ... it's been accepted here in San Francisco that this is a fine day to get ripped in public. And that will all happen this year, too -- as long as pot smokers can learn to be labor friendly and accept a pared-back pot-a-thon.
In the past, there was a sort of street fair in Civic Center to accompany the traditional lighting up of joints, blunts, and pipes in front of City Hall, the courthouse, and other august halls of authority, complete with music, booths, and what have-you. Not so this year: The city's budget deficit has driven up fees nearly five-fold, with an erstwhile $1,700 event fee now breaking the $8,000 mark, according to David Goldman of the San Francisco chapter of Americans for Safe Access.
"Nobody could sponsor it this year," said Goldman, who noted that, bands or no bands, booths or no booths, a troop of pot smokers are still planning on marching down to Civic Center around 4 p.m., in anticipation of celebrating the day -- when else? -- at 4:20 p.m.
But they might have to bring a little bit extra, because there will be some extra folks to pass to after a puff-puff: Saturday is also May Day, International Workers' Day, and a march of labor unions from the Mission District is scheduled to wrap up at Civic Center sometime around 3 p.m., according to police spokesman Officer Albie Esparza. That said, Cannabis Freedom Day hasn't been a problem for police in the past, so a toned-down event following a labor demonstration isn't worrying police this year, Esparza said.
"We don't have any extra enforcement planned, as far as Cannabis Freedom Day goes," he told SF Weekly. "In fact, I'd never even heard of this day."
Esparza notes that 4/20 went off without a hitch around Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park, And if that went smoothly, there's no reason why laborites and stoners can't share Civic Center peacefully. Event-goers friendly to workers and weed alike have quite the day ahead of them -- if they any mojo left in the tank after a busy several weeks.
"I think a lot of us felt a lot of energy with the [International Hemp & Cannabis Expo] at the Cow Palace," Goldman noted. "With 15,000 people at that event, there's a little bit of fatigue.
"But I'll be there. I'm going to put my money where my mouth is."
Photo | Pacdog