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Church of Ambrosia to offer services during unofficial Golden Gate Park 4/20 celebrations

PIX Now - Afternoon Edition 4/18/24
PIX Now - Afternoon Edition 4/18/24 08:23

Despite San Francisco canceling its official 4/20 event in Golden Gate Park this year, people will still show up, and the Church of Ambrosia says it will be ready for them. 

The church is a nondenominational, interfaith religious organization, supporting use and safe access to all entheogenic plants - with a focus on cannabis and magic mushrooms.

Pastor Dave Hodges said in a statement that he expects thousands of people to be there Saturday.

"This is like a pilgrimage to Mecca," Hodges said. "We see this as a religious event. Anybody who is going out to Hippie Hill on 420 to smoke a joint, they're doing that religiously, whether or not they realize it."

The church said, along with nonprofit groups, it will provide a basic "safety net" of necessary services such as water, medical aid, portable toilets, trash pickup, and more. 

The church said the Haight-Ashbury Merchants Association will provide more than 30 portable toilets using church donations, supplementing 10 portables from the city. 

The group said it's also donating funds for a "medic tent" and paying four medics, three stationed on Hippie Hill grounds and one in the tent. The medical team will have Narcan available for any opioid overdoses. The nonprofit Micah's Hugs will provide Narcan and the group DanceSafe will have test strips. 

The church will host a booth to dispense thousands of bottles of water and Bay Area Psychedelic Network will help the church distribute water. Any donations received for water will go to the network.

Urban Alchemy is staffing the event with 10 people to help paths remain clear inside the park, as well as access to and from the site. Underscoring the safety concerns, church officials and support staff will wear T-shirts bearing the words, "Stoner Safety."

Hodges is not encouraging attendance. He said he is "urging people to find alternate ways to observe 420. The fewer the participants, he said, the less likely that available services will fall short of the need."

He asks those who do attend to bring their own food and water and not to purchase any cannabis on site but, instead, support their local dispensaries. 

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