CANNABIS CULTURE – Record-high numbers of marijuana smokers and vendors are expected to fill Vancouver’s downtown Art Gallery grounds on April 20 for what is likely to be the city’s largest 4/20 rally yet, part of a worldwide celebration of cannabis culture and action against destructive drug laws.
“April 20 is a day of celebration and protest around the world,” Jodie Emery, Green Party of British Columbia candidate in Vancouver-West End and wife of imprisoned activist Marc Emery, told Cannabis Culture. “People gather together to celebrate cannabis and use peaceful civil disobedience to protest against harmful prohibition policies.”
420, a code for pot smoking originated by California high-school and college students in the 1970s, was adapted in the 1990s into a day-long street festival by Vancouver marijuana activists working for Marc Emery, and eventually blossomed into the international celebration of today.
Organizers of Vancouver’s 4/20 event, one of the biggest in the world, say it’s expected to draw 20,000 or more peaceful protestors and pot puffers to the Vancouver Art Gallery and surrounding streets. Activist groups providing information and vendors selling a rainbow of marijuana strains, hash, edibles and other marijuana-related products will fill more than 80 booths at the Art Gallery and on Howe street, which will be closed to traffic at 9AM.
This year’s event starts at Noon and will feature two stages of live music, circus performers, contests and speeches by marijuana activists as well as the traditional free joint-toss and massive 4:20 smoke session.
WATCH VANCOUVER 4/20 LIVE – NOON to 7PM PT
“I have been to every 4/20 rally since the first one in 1995,” Dana Larsen, director of the Sensible BC campaign to decriminalize marijuana in BC, told CC, “and it has been wonderful to see this event evolve from a small gathering of nervous protesters into a massive celebration of the cannabis culture. There is nothing else like Vancouver’s 4/20 in the world. As a one-day marijuana farmers market, it is completely unique.”
The success of the 4/20 rally has been paralleled by the growth of awareness and support for the repeal of marijuana prohibition. Marijuana reform is backed by British Columbians at a 3 to 1 margin. Though marijuana is still illegal in British Columbia, Vancouver police turn a blind eye to the forbidden-by-law festivities on 4/20.
“It’s clear to most Canadians that the laws against marijuana do far more harm to individuals and society than the use of marijuana itself,” Emery said. “Prohibition is an expensive, ineffective policy that wastes millions of tax dollars on policing, courts and prisons. Prohibited substances like marijuana fund organized crime with billions of dollars. Anyone who supports prohibition is supporting organized crime. It’s time to talk about legalization.”
The Sensible BC campaign is an Elections BC-approved ballot initiative drive that would effectively decriminalize marijuana in BC by ending funding for police enforcement of laws against possession of an ounce or less of cannabis. Find out more at SensibleBC.ca
Find more information about Vancouver’s 4/20 2013 celebration, including a full schedule of events, at 420Vancouver.com
For more information about 4/20, read this blog post by Marc Emery.
For a list of 4/20 rallies in cities around the world.
Find out about the national Canadian 4/20 campaign at 420rally.ca.