SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — That wasn’t fog hovering over Golden Gate Park in San Francisco Monday. It was a cloud of marijuana smoke over a sea of stoners on Hippie Hill celebrating 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday.

Thousands turned out in celebration of marijuana and in open defiance of the state’s law banning its recreational use.

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You can call it the fog of war – a cultural war that’s been brewing for decades – the battle to legalize marijuana here in California and across the country.
“Weed makes you happy,” said marijuana supporter Carl McPherson. “It makes you hungry. I’m a musician. I used to write some of the best music of my life on weed.”

The annual pot holiday has been a big headache for the city in years past. Two years ago, the large and at times unruly crowds caught the city off-guard.

“We weren’t prepared,” said Board of Supervisors President London Breed. “The streets were in complete gridlock. Emergency vehicles couldn’t get around. There were fights.”

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This year, the city is trying to do a better job policing the annual event by adding more officers and coordinating with some of the unofficial sponsors of the events to help with trash pick-up. Officers said they were not looking to cite anyone as long as people behaved.

Marijuana supporters say they hope the event will help tip the scales in finally convincing the state and its voters to legalize pot.

“Everyone’s mellowed out. Everyone’s having a good time,” said marijuana supporter Jessica Moran. “I think they should legalize pot and make this an official event because everyone comes here.”

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“I’ve got arthritis from head to toe. Marijuana is a life-saver,” said Keith Steiner. “I saw my doctor the other day. He said, ‘Is weed still working for you?’ I said, ‘Yes, it is.’”