Thousands Descend on 4/20 Smokeout in Golden Gate Park | NBC Southern California

Thousands Descend on 4/20 Smokeout in Golden Gate Park

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    About 6,000 people descended on Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Thursday to celebrate 4/20, the annual unsanctioned marijuana smokeout. Christie Smith reports.

    (Published Thursday, April 20, 2017)

    An estimated 15,000 people descended on Golden Gate Park in San Francisco on Thursday to celebrate 4/20, the annual unsanctioned marijuana smokeout.

    This year's party at Sharon Meadows, also known as Hippie Hill, looked a bit different, as city officials decided to make it cleaner and safer for all.

    Some of the changes included: a higher-than-average number of police officers and medical personnel stationed in the area; only adults allowed in the park; a gated perimeter; preapproved food stalls; portable trash bins; and portable toilets across the venue.

    The city allowed merchant sponsors to have a permit providing the infrastructure around the event.

    Ray Chavez noticed a difference.

    "It's more organized; it wasn’t as hectic as last year," he said. "I think its dope, to be honest. Like anyone could come here and do what they want."

    Reaction to the changes was mixed, though, with some feeling the city was going too far. Desmond Thomas, an unpermitted vendor, was selling shirts outside one of the entry points this year.

    "They’re just going overboard this year," he said.

    For the most part, those who came to celebrate were feeling good.

    "I just came for the good vibes, the smoke and peaceful people," one attendee said.

    The city also aimed to resolve some of the past congestion issues, providing shuttle bus service. Though no street closures were initially planned, Haight Street was shut down in the afternoon.