Every year on 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday, tens of thousands of people converge upon Hippie Hill in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park to smoke marijuana. This year, what used to be an act of defiance against laws banning the use of cannabis has turned into an act of jubilation.
Bianca Haynes drove four hours from Bakersfield to mark the first 4/20 since California legalized recreational marijuana use. "We're going to be here all day. We're going to listen to music, vibe out, eat some good food, take a lot of pictures, and make a lot of memories," she said.
But while users are happy, there are signs the new freedom isn't paying off as well as expected for businesses.
Dispensaries across the Bay Area are courting customers with giveaways, raffles, live music and food trucks. But many dispensary owners are still waiting to see whether the economic prospects of legalization of recreational cannabis will be fully realized.
Consumers spent an estimated $339 million on marijuana products in the first two months of legal recreational marijuana sales in California, according to a report from cannabis data firm BDS Analytics. If sales continue at the same pace, that would be 11.5 percent lower than state estimates.