At “Hippie Hill” in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, marijuana smoke curled up in every direction Friday as revelers with bags of Funyuns in their hands and pot leaf leis around their necks toked up for the ritual known as 4/20, which has served as both a beacon of protest and a laid-back festival since the 1970s.
Police and security guards could be spotted here and there on the outskirts and park rangers at checkpoints closer to the action, yet law enforcement mostly kept its distance from the revelers.
But down in Santa Cruz, known for a hippy culture that refuses to die, the annual celebration that took place in the usual oak-ringed meadow in the UC Santa Cruz hills started out decidedly less hazy.
Though recreational marijuana is now legal in California thanks to Proposition 64’s overwhelming passage in 2016, The Man was not mellow and early in the afternoon succeeded in mostly shutting down its use.
“The legalization allowed people over the age of 21 to possess it — it didn’t allow them to come out into public and smoke it,” said UC Santa Cruz Police Chief Nader Oweis.
About 100 officers, including many from nine other UC campuses, made their presence known. They were there to make sure people were safe and to enforce the prohibitions against smoking marijuana on campus and in public, Owens said.
A videographer who said she was shooting imagery for police probably discouraged some smoking too.
UC Santa Cruz art student Marco Cota was among the first attendees to learn law enforcement wouldn’t take a chilled-out approach to the event. Lying shirtless in the meadow, surrounded by several friends and toking on a joint, Cota was approached by two officers.
“Stop smoking,” one officer said. “I’m serious. Do it now. Get rid of it.”
Costa obeyed. “He got super aggressive all the sudden,” said Cota, 26. “It’s not like I”m smoking meth or doing cocaine.”
The policeman declined his offer to share the doobie, he said. “I asked if he wanted some because he needed to calm down a little bit.”
Another young man, in a tie-dyed shirt and jeans, was cited for public pot smoking and — because there’s a university daycare nearby — for using the drug within 1,000 feet of a child care facility.
Of getting a citation from police, student Calvin Abel, 21, of Corning said, “Why, is the big question.”
University officials consider the annual celebration of pot an …read more
Source:: East Bay – Lifestyle