On Saturday, April 20, 2013, thousands of people participated in the annual 420 pilgrimage to Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz. Once again, the counterculture cannabis celebration brought people of diverse backgrounds together for an afternoon under the hot sun.
This year there appeared to be more spectators and fewer spectacles. Similar to 420 in 2012, many people stayed under the forest canopy bordering the meadow due to the high temperature. In addition to smoking cannabis and socializing, people were face painting, relaxing in a hammock strung up in the redwoods, listening to live and recorded music, juggling, hula hooping, and taking pictures with friends.
In 2012, approximately 10 UC police officers walked into the meadow at 5 p.m. to surveil the celebration. The officers spoke briefly with some people, and left 15 minutes later, while the festivities continued on. This year around 5 p.m., a couple dozen police officers from UC Santa Cruz, as well as from UC San Francisco, walked around the meadow to let people know it was time to for them to move on. Police shrugged their shoulders and were both pleased and surprised while watching the mass exodus from the meadow.
Men in orange vests documented attendees with video and still cameras. I asked one of them who they were filming for and why. The gentleman said he was working for UCSC and, “the university wants to learn more about this event.”
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