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On 4/20, weed lovers aplenty in Washington Square Park

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | Washington Square Park was ablaze with pot smokers on Saturday, April 20, a.k.a. 4/20 Day.

Thousands of weed devotees packed the Greenwich Village park to light up joints that they brought themselves or buy some pre-rolls so they could join the annual puff-palooza.

While the cannabis crowd was feeling their bliss, however, one local quality-of-life activist was burning — and not as in smoking cannabis.

“There’s quite a bit of anger with what’s going on down there,” he said, anonymously. “It’s ridiculous. We were told there were not enough resources to shut it down. It’s not O.K. because every bit of it is illegal.”

A smoker at a recent 4/20 Day in Washington Square Park modeled a joint-holder ring she was selling. Pot lovers consider 4/20 their “national holiday.” (Photo by The Village Sun)

Captain Jason Zeikel, the 6th Precinct commanding officer, said that during 4/20 police officers were not posted inside the park but outside of it, around its perimeter.

Over all, Zeikel said, it was a peaceful event, without any violence.

“No significant incidents related to 4/20,” he reported.

As for the huge influx of ganja lovers, Zeikel noted, “The park’s never like that except 4/20.”

As for New York City’s no-smoking-in-parks rule, the 6th Precinct generally leaves enforcement of park-related rules and regulations to the Parks Department’s Parks Enforcement Patrol, or PEPs — unless in cases where there is a joint-enforcement effort on vending or some other issue.

But, well…this was not exactly a “joint” enforcement kind of day.

As one stoner who was 4/20’ing in the park, later put it, “Washington Square Park was united in lighting up and there were groovy vibes all throughout the peacefully assembled, unpermitted and completely organically enjoyed event.”

The unofficial holiday for getting high reportedly traces its roots back to a group of California high school students in the early 1970s who would meet after school at 4:20 p.m. to toke.


  1. mike santos mike santos April 22, 2024

    There was an enormous amount of illicit criminal activity going on under the guise of 4/20. Besides the illegal vending of all sorts of junk, alcohol and drugs, there were also over 40 commercial tents. There were easily 50-plus illegal dirt bikes blocking the park entrance and riding recklessly through the streets, popping wheelies while screaming vulgarities at anyone in their way. There were hard drugs being sold and used openly. Did anyone mention that this all took place in close proximity to not one, but two children’s playgrounds?! And how about the illegal drug trucks parked all around the park openly selling all kinds of drugs? The amplified music was deafening, the smoke clouds outrageous and the lawlessness unacceptable. The Parks Dept. should have shut the park down and not allowed the reckless taking of the park.

  2. Johnny Q Johnny Q April 22, 2024

    “Groovy, Organic” — yeah, right, I’ll buy my pot from some sketchy dude in a pop-up tent in Washington Sq. Park. I hardly walk there in fear of stepping on a syringe or some fentanyl residue from all the dreck hanging out there. Who knows what backroom that stuff came from. The naivety is staggering.

    Sadly, this has been happening every year across the nation for decades without much consequence, no surprise. Imagine such a turnout for “real” issues: world hunger, voter registration, gun control, donating blood, etc.

  3. ted tedorov ted tedorov April 22, 2024

    Also another excuse for people to flock together en masse to be idiotic. Truly insipid, on par with ethnic pride parades — but for really cool (*cough*) people.

  4. Jon Jon April 21, 2024

    Cigarette smoking is unhealthy, so there are laws against smoking, including secondhand smoke impact.

    Marijuana was decriminalized, which was correct.

    But it’s insane that the City and State are basically encouraging it, making it cool, enabling it — and not protecting folks who don’t want it wafting everywhere…

    • andrea crociani andrea crociani April 22, 2024

      There would be a lot of riots against the police.
      Perhaps the state wants to reduce problems and ensure safety for policemen.
      Unfortunately it was a day where the police could not intervene because it would be impossible to arrest 1,000 people inside a park.
      That said, I also don’t approve of them invading the park.

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