“The restrictions and the rules and regulations that the state put forth are very, very stringent, so some dispensaries are still in this limbo area,” A.G. Melendez, director of operations at The Green Door dispensary in San Francisco, told CNBC about this year’s holiday sales.
Carrying those legal weed grey areas into the realm of personal consumption, a number of 4/20 festival-goers in Colorado and California reported increased police presence at this year’s public parties. Allegedly, cops were actively seeking out smokers to cite and ticket for smoking weed outside, which remains a crime, even in places where cannabis is entirely legal.
At Denver’s annual Civic Center smoke-out, local police handed out more than twice the number of public consumption tickets than they did in 2017.
In the Golden State, the University of California Santa Cruz called in over 100 police officers from the UC campus network to oversee the college’s annual 4/20 celebration.
Across the Bay Bridge in San Francisco, partiers at the annual Hippie Hill celebration in Golden Gate Park reported an increased presence of security personnel and police. The cannabis enthusiasts said that the authoritarian figures generally left party-goers alone, even as nearly 15,000 people lit up at once as the clock struck 4:20.
And in Denver, while 64 people will now need to confront a court date for smoking a legal plant in the Colorado sunshine, the number of people ticketed represents a miniscule section of Friday’s estimated 70,000 Civic Center attendees.
As more states continue to enact comprehensive cannabis reform laws over the coming years, the controversial plant’s annual April celebration will no doubt run into new complications and old law enforcement officers still pushing prohibition. If last weekend’s mass celebration was any indicator, 4/20 will only grow larger and more mainstream each and every spring.