The smell of pot was in the air as thousands assembled on the lawn of the Vancouver Art Gallery for a collective toke. It was a grass-roots celebration of the freedom to smoke marijuana on April 20 — known as ‘420’ among pot users as the time to get high. Amid the tents, the music and, barely seen through the smoke — were messages on signposts by organizers about legalization of marijuana. “2008 was the biggest 420 event in Vancouver with nearly 10,000 people taking part over the course of the day,” said organizer Jodie Joanna Emery, the wife of “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery.
There are many myths behind the origins of the phrase ‘420’ as slang for a time to smoke up. The event shares a date with the birthday of Adolf Hitler, and the high school shootings in Columbine, Colorado. But according to High Times Magazine, 420 originated in a San Francisco high school in the early 1970s as the time detention ended. One group of kids — known as the “Waldos” — coined the term because they could use it to talk about smoking weed after school without the teachers knowing what it meant.
The term caught on when it circulated among Grateful Dead fans in the 1980s, and by 1997, about 50 marijuana activists set up on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery to show the world they could smoke pot. Since then the event has grown to thousands of pot smokers milling about on the Vancouver Art Gallery lawn each year.
– Article from CTV News, April 20, 2008
Pot is in the air: Thousands light up for 420 celebration
By Kristen Thompson
April 21, 2008
You could see it hovering in the air for a block and smell it for two — pot smoke. Yesterday thousands of people packed the open spaces around the Vancouver Art Gallery for the annual April 20 (420) cannabis celebration. Vendors sold pipes and pot baking while police blocked traffic on Howe Street so the swelling crowds could spill onto the road.
As the clock ticked toward 4:20 p.m. people shouted the time like the countdown to New Year’s, and at the minute there was a collective, raucous cheer. Pat, 22, who didn’t want his last name used, said Vancouverites should consider themselves lucky to be able to celebrate pot culture in public. “It’s nice to sit in the sun in the middle of the city and smoke pot,” he said. “It’s a novelty (elsewhere) I guess.” Amber Brown and Juniper Omoniyi, both 19 said they were expecting a more “chilled, music festival vibe.” “It’s really crowded,” said Brown. “It almost feels like a huge mosh pit,” added Omoniyi.
Vancouver’s best-known pot crusader, Marc Emery, was in the crowd handing out joints and said he was thrilled with the turnout. “I just don’t want anything to happen since my name’s on the permit,” he said. “Ah, nothing’s going to happen. Everybody’s having a good time.”
Vancouver’s Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, and thousands of other marijuana proponents surround the Vancouver Art Gallery at 4:20 p.m. yesterday to celebrate their lifestyle. At its largest, the crowd swelled onto Howe Street, forcing police to close it to traffic.
– Check out photos from this year’s 420 celebration! Click Here!
– To see the YouTube.com video search results for “420 Vancouver 2008”, Click Here!