Your Guide to Ringing in the Last 420 of Prohibition Right

It may be hard to remember when watching Hippie Hill emit a mushroom cloud-sized plume of smoke, but cannabis is still illegal in California — for now.

The business started 20 years ago in 1996 when Prop. 215 legalized medical marijuana may finally continue this fall, when California voters will very likely have the chance to become the fifth state to allow all adults 21 and over to use cannabis.

Much of this business began with 420 — from the Marin County teenagers who coined the term while searching for a mythical pot patch planted by a Coast Guardsman (which turned out to be real; see page 12) to the faithful Deadheads on tour who passed out thousands of fliers advertising twenty minutes past 4 p.m. as the time to protest prohibition by twisting one up.

All those decades of protest are paying off. Legalization truly is almost here.

While not everybody loves the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, we’ll worry about that later. For now, here’s how to mark the occasion: what we predict will be the last 420 in the Prohibition era in California.


California finally collected itself and put together statewide rules on medical marijuana. The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act only took nearly 20 years — and it will likely undo any business you had going under SB 420 and Prop. 215 in about 20 months. Figure out what’s changed and how to adapt – and get a good idea how to get into the cannabis industry directly from state lawmakers and regulators as well as industry titans at the ELEVATED Cannabis compliance conference.

April 16-17, Hilton DoubleTree, Rohnert Park, CA


Why wait until April 20 to celebrate the day? Steve Hager isn’t. The former HIGH TIMES editor and Cannabis Cup originator puts the New Year’s Eve treatment on cannabis’s highest holiday, minus the cheap champagne hangover. A lavish meal, live music, and a cannabis competition are the main events at 420 Eve at Terrapin Crossroads in San Rafael. Tickets are $100 and will be sold on Eventbrite, but you can attend the concert — and the midnight toast — for a mere $10. Find the event on Facebook to enter strains and learn more.

420 Eve, 7 p.m. April 19, Terrapin Crossroads, 100 Yacht Club Dr., San Rafael


Oakland has long been northern California’s cannabis capital — so why wouldn’t the Oakland Museum of California have an exhibit all about marijuana? The idea behind “Altered State,” which opens April 16 and runs until September, is to encourage people to “think critically about marijuana,” curator Sarah Seiter says. We wish curators called the magic plant cannabis — that’s its scientific name, after all — but we’re happy critical thinking has at last entered the debate.

And — of course — admission is only $4.20.

“Altered State: Marijuana in California,” at the Oakland Museum of California, 1000 Oak St., Oakland. Open 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Wednesday, for other hours and directions, www.museumca.org.


You may be surprised to know people grew, sold, and smoked weed when even a small bag was more than enough to land you in prison. (How did people even LIVE back then?!) A slice of this life was captured in film with 1992’s The Moneytree. Part protest film, part underground economy reveal, The Moneytree played to sold-out audiences at the Mill Valley Film Festival after it was rejected by Hollywood (according to legend, the film is more than semiautobiographical for director Alan Dienstag). Meet the film’s star, Christopher Dienstag, who wants to use this still-relevant reminder that the war on drugs is not won to raise awareness about modern-day reefer madness: to wit, Child Protective Services seizing children from nonviolent pot smokers. For $15, Black Sheep Films presents a special screening of the original 35mm of the print, plus a panel discussion.

The Money Tree screening
12:30 p.m., Saturday, April 23


Who are we kidding? It’s 2016 and we’ve almost won — let’s go to Hippie Hill and visit with 10,000 of our closest friends. It’s a Wednesday but we know the Haight Ashbury will be jamming and Golden Gate Park will be full for San Francisco’s largest underground outdoor party. When all that gets old, make your way over to the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, where S.F.’s own Berner is putting on a massive show with Cypress Hill, Kool John, and many more — and he’s even providing shuttles from Hippie Hill to the show.

Berner Presents Hippie Hill: Cypress Hill, Berner, and friends
5:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 20

Photo by Gabrielle Lurie