If you’ve been watching the news recently you might have heard that the entire world is ensnared in the sickly RNA strands of a certain Corona Virus and you better stock up on your weed and toilet paper–asap.
If you live in the Bay Area the situation recently became more frightening with the announcement of a mandatory stay in place order that seems to have affected everyone but yours truly. Because working for nonprofits puts you in situations that can kill you. But I digress. San Franciscans are being made to do something alien to them (besides following simple directions) and that’s staying away from each other.
When the announcement was made March 16th, potheads around the city began to prioritize what was going to get them through this virulent quagmire, and it wasn’t canned goods or hand sanitizer. It was lots and lots of weed, and dispensaries such as Purple Star saw their lines snake down Mission street by 6pm Monday evening as the prospect of their indefinite closing loomed.
London Breed and her ilk got to thinking and rightfully decided that weed dispensaries were one of those essential services on par with hospitals and grocery stores. So after a day of hemming and hawing pot shops around the city reopened, albeit with much more stringent restrictions in place.
Now with “non-essential” businesses and venues such as bars, restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, libraries, churches and other places where people congregate closing indefinitely, it looks as if San Francisco’s largest and longest-running counter-culture tradition–its annual 420 celebration–will go the way of the dinosaur in 2020. As more and more cases of Covid-19 are reported each day, and as the death toll from the virus continues to mount events like these will remain closed as people’s fears about catching the virus run rampant.
The Corona Virus will likely alter life as we know it. Thinking in the context of pre-HIV and post HIV, it’s hard to even imagine a time when unprotected sex and unsafe intravenous drug use was the norm. Conversely, in the future, we may see large scale events where people swap germs with impunity no longer take place due to our fear of another pandemic ravaging our lives.
The upside is that weed production will likely not take too big of a hit, even if we are headed towards a recession that will make 2008 look like a liquor store robbery. So stock up on your weed products and celebrate 420 in a different way this year- virtually. Throw a 420 party with all your friends over Facebook Live or whatever the hell you kids use nowadays, and smoke to your heart’s content. It may not be the same as the 420 parties on Hippie Hill, but honestly, nothing will be the same soon.
My name is Petey Wheatstraw, also known as Charles Stevens. I’m an avid marijuana smoker, writer, devoted father and non-profit minion– not necessarily in that order. A Chicago native I’ve lived off and on in the Bay Area since 1996. Seven years ago I finally settled here to capture the changing face of our communities.