San Francisco Church Offers Support for 4/20 Cannabis Celebration After City Cancels Event

The Church of Ambrosia in San Francisco is providing support services for the annual 4/20 cannabis celebration in Golden Gate Park, despite the city's cancellation of the official event. This highlights the ongoing debate over cannabis and the importance of harm reduction measures.

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Quadri Adejumo
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San Francisco Church Offers Support for 4/20 Cannabis Celebration After City Cancels Event

San Francisco Church Offers Support for 4/20 Cannabis Celebration After City Cancels Event

The Church of Ambrosia, a San Francisco Bay Area religious organization, is providing support services for the annual 4/20 cannabis celebration in Golden Gate Park's Hippie Hill after the city canceled the official event. The church, which describes itself as a "nondenominational, interfaith religious organization that supports the use and safe access of all Entheogenic Plants," views the 4/20 event as a "religious pilgrimage" for "cannabis devotees."

Despite the city's cancellation of the official event due to budget cuts and challenges in the cannabis industry, thousands of people are still anticipated to gather at Hippie Hill on April 20 to celebrate. The Church of Ambrosia has partnered with local merchants and nonprofit groups to offer a "safety net" of services, including over 30 portable toilets, a medical tent with Narcan to reverse opioid overdoses, water distribution, and trash pickup.

The church opened its first location in Oakland in 2019 and its second in San Francisco in 2023. It has previously filed a lawsuit against the city of Oakland over a police raid that seized money and drugs. While the church is not encouraging attendance at the unofficial 4/20 celebration, it is urging people to find alternate ways to observe the holiday and support their local dispensaries instead of purchasing cannabis on-site.

Why this matters: The Church of Ambrosia's involvement in the 4/20 celebration highlights the ongoing debate over the role of cannabis in society and the challenges faced by cities in managing large-scale events. The church's efforts to provide support services also emphasize the importance of harm reduction measures in the context of drug use.

The Haight Ashbury Merchants Association is coordinating with the San Francisco Police Department, San Francisco Fire Department, and other groups to ensure the safety of attendees. The fire department will have an ambulance on-site, and the police department will have increased staffing at the park. The Rec and Parks department will also have park rangers present, erect barricades to discourage illegal vending, and close the tunnel from Alvord Lake to Hippie Hill. Additionally, the SFMTA will be adding more buses to the 5, 7, and N Muni lines between noon and 8:30 pm to help reduce wait times and crowding as people leave the park.

Key Takeaways

  • Church of Ambrosia provides support services for 4/20 cannabis celebration in SF
  • City canceled official event due to budget cuts and cannabis industry challenges
  • Church filed lawsuit against Oakland over police raid seizing money and drugs
  • Merchants, police, fire dept. coordinating to ensure safety of 4/20 attendees
  • SFMTA adding more buses to reduce wait times and crowding after the event