By Maria Medina

SAN JOSE (KPIX) – People across the Bay Area gathered to celebrate 4/20 on Tuesday, the unofficial cannabis holiday, even if it meant getting a little creative as the pandemic rages on.

“I think it’s nice just seeing people out and about, seeing people happy, seeing the community come together,” said Melanie who didn’t want to give her last name.

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In San Jose, a smokeout dubbed, “The Public Spark,” attracted dozens of cannabis lovers, arts and crafts and food vendors, including those who came to the Silicon Valley city after finding their usual 4/20 hangouts in San Francisco fenced and guarded by park rangers and police officers.

Hippie Hill’s yearly event, which normally hosts thousands of people, was cancelled this year.

“Seemed like they switched, so they gave the San Jose strictness out there, and they gave us the San Francisco leniency out here, that’s how I feel,” said Dre.

The pandemic’s looser public health restrictions gave the all clear for many to find ways to celebrate the unofficial holiday, including virtually and socially distanced.

An online concert named “The Great American ‘Sesh In’ 4/20 Celebration” raised money for cannabis criminal justice reform.

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San Jose’s event also had a deeper message. Organizers protested on behalf of those serving prison time for marijuana crimes as others make billions of dollars in the legal cannabis industry.

“I definitely think that there’s some more to do, we still have a lot of people locked up for drug related charges,” Melanie said.

What’s more, many said this year’s 4/20 holiday will always be different than years past.

It was also the same day former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd last May.

“I feel like there’s lots to kind of celebrate and then also lots to still kind of remember that there’s more to do,” Melanie said.

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“It’s definitely one to remember,” said Keyanna Swanson. “Now we have justice and closure, and that’s absolutely what we needed.”