First “Legal” Vancouver 4/20 Not Entirely Legal

Vancouver 4/20 celebrates legalization, but protests continuing stigma.Vancouver 4/20 started as a protest against the criminalization of cannabis. This year, the first 4/20 event since cannabis was legalized, organizers still feel they have issues to protest. For one, city officials still refuse to give permits for the event.

“To opponents, the 25th annual event has grown into a full-fledged festival and trade show that is shirking the proper permitting processes, and full costs, by continuing to declare itself a protest,” the Globe and Mail article states about the Vancouver 4/20 event last Saturday.

“Organizers counter that they pay tens of thousands of dollars every year, covering the costs of everything but policing, including sanitation, park maintenance and private security. And, they say they have, in fact, applied for a permit and been denied on the grounds it is a cannabis event – just one example that there is still much to protest.” (Please click on link below for full article)

The article noted that Park Board Commissioner John Coupar “wandered the periphery” of the Vancouver 4/20 event at Sunset Beach. He “surveyed the assembly with disapproval.” He would have much to disapprove. This year’s assembly drew 60,000 to the beach, up from 40,000 people last year. That was thanks in part to Cypress Hill headlining the event – something Coupar specifically asked organizers to cancel.

Both Legal and Illegal Cannabis Available

The Globe article noted that vendors at Vancouver 4/20 sold both legal and illegal goods. These included snacks and apparel (legal) and prerolled joints, which would be legal if they came from a licensed producer. Edibles were also available, which won’t be legal until the fall.

The other “illegal” activity going on was the fact that smoking is not allowed in Vancouver parks. However, one organizer said exemptions could – and should – be made for Vancouver 4/20.

“Other public events get bylaw exemptions to be able to drink alcohol on the beach and in the parks,” said event spokeswoman Jodie Emery. “4/20 Vancouver should be granted a bylaw exemption, as well.”

Vancouver City councillor Melissa De Genova suggested event-goers could eat brownies instead. Emery countered that edibles were actual more dangerous for novice users.

Vancouver 4/20 illustrates that although Canada has come a long way, there are still some sticking points. Perhaps much of it has to with the acceptance of cannabis as mainstream now. Until all of Canada ends the stigma and negative associations with cannabis, events like Vancouver 4/20 continue to be a protest.

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