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San Francisco's 4/20 Marijuana Festival Will Be A City-Permitted Event

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) -- We're less than a month away from the 4/20 festival at San Francisco's Golden Gate Park.

But the pot-smoking holiday will look a lot different this year.

Every year thousands of stoners converge on the park's Hippie Hill to celebrate 4/20.

Sarah Madland Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department said, "This has been a rogue kind of spontaneous thing.

And for just as long, the city's police and officials have chosen to sit back, hope for the best and then spend around $50,000 cleaning up after everyone.

Madland said, "People come in and do everything they can to make a mess."

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said, "We've had discussions about how to end this event, but the reality is that it would break into four or five different events and then we couldn't control any of it."

So, in good old San Francisco style, they've decided if you can't beat them, at least try and control them.

Which is why this year, with recreational pot now legal, 4/20 will be a city-permitted event, complete with sponsors, fences and gates paid for by neighboring Haight Street merchants like Alex Aquino.

"Basically we are trying to help the city and the park bring some infrastructure to make it safe and clean," Aquino said.

Madland said, "Things like porta potties, trash cans, making sure there is a traffic plan, making sure there is an ambulance on site."

But it's technically still against the law to smoke in the park.

Mayor Lee said, "You know it's, it's like critical mass, just like the pillow fights at Justin Herman Plaza: People come."

We asked Madland, is the city breaking its own laws?

Madland simply said, "Welcome to San Francisco."

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