Keep Off the Grass: Dana Larsen Breaks Down Postmedia’s Coverage of 420

Dana Larsen stands before an estimated crowd of 55,000 attendees at 420 Vancouver 2017

Photo by Danny Kresnyak/Cannabis Culture

CANNABIS CULTURE- Full Disclosure: Notable activist Dana Larsen is an entrepreneur, author, and catalytic force in the movement to end prohibition. He is a former editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine as well as one of the critical organizers of 420 Vancouver. He has also completed a campaign to distribute 5 million hemp seeds Canada-wide.

In short, he’s a real-deal hard-core grass grower in a three-piece-suit. His stated purpose is to normalize the use of cannabis. On his facebook feed Larsen refers to himself as an “Activist, author, businessman, politician and cannabis connoisseur”. The italicized section following this text is drawn from the same feed. In his closing, he notes “people aren’t reading Postmedia very much anymore.” This is a well-documented, measurable fact. Newspaper circulation in every major market in Canada has either stagnated or continually declines.

The editorial in question is found here.

This editorial is unbelievably slanted and contains serious misinformation.

Let’s take it point by point.

4/20 organizers, myself included, have extensive meetings with city and park board staff, including Park Rangers, Vancouver Police, Emergency Services, Sanitation, Paramedics, Ambulances, Traffic Control, and many other departments. We develop a detailed plan to cover every single aspect of 4/20 so as to ensure community safety and proper care of the park.

We work with paramedics to create a grid system so we can quickly identify where there might be any emergencies or problems. We hire paramedics and ambulance to help with safety and health issues that may arise. We work with the park archaeologist to do a ground scan of the park area. We coordinate with police for community safety and to prevent thefts and conflict at the event. We work with groundskeepers to ensure the stage placement is secure and inspected.

We actually had lengthy discussions around the chance of rain and potential damage to the grass. After a great deal of investigation and meetings, we agreed with the Park Board staff that it was not possible to protect the grass in a safe way. Laying down plywood doesn’t protect much, and creates a serious safety hazard which they didn’t want us to do. It’s not as easy to protect park grass during a large festival if you’re unlucky and have rain. Everyone was aware of this well in advance.

I have a lengthy “notice of expectations” from the park board about what they want us to do at 4/20. It covers all kinds of items and contingencies. Notably missing is an instruction to lay down some kind of protective coating on the grass, because that was not a requirement.

We need to keep this in perspective. We’re talking about maybe $5000 to re-seed the park and then a couple of weeks for it to regrow. If you’d seen the park on April 19, you’d know that it was already pretty muddy and splotchy, to begin with. We’ll cover the re-seeding cost from the 4/20 budget, but this a few grand is a tiny amount to be getting worked up about.

66 short hospital visits during an event with 100,000 people is very small. If this had been an all-ages beer garden which the city and park board regularly subsidize and promote, there would have been hundreds of hospital visits. Does anyone remember the booze-fueled Stanley Cup Riot? There’s probably more alcohol-related visits in Vancouver every day than 4/20 gets once a year.

For some reason, they mention that ten of these people “were under the age of 20.” Which means they are ADULTS. One 14-year old went to the hospital for a couple of hours after having too many edibles. That is unfortunate, but I’m pretty sure we see kids sneaking drinks at the all-ages beer gardens too. Just one teen getting a pot brownie from his older brother and then feeling bad is actually a remarkable success for an event of this size and scope.

Sunset Beach is used for many large public events. Vancouver hosts all kinds of festivals which shut down the streets and make noise. We actually moved from the Art Gallery to Sunset Beach so as to minimize traffic disruption and problems. That is one reason why the Vancouver Police Chief vocally supported our relocating to Sunset Beach last year.

Haters like the anonymous people who wrote this editorial complain about the minimal cost of the event, while also calling for the police to arrest everyone and fill the jail with pot smokers, a course of action which would cost the city and police many millions of dollars.

The authors claim that we are rallying because “we object to restrictions on selling drugs to minors” is a complete lie and you should be ashamed for writing such slander. Cannabis prohibition continues, people are arrested across Canada every day. Will the Vancouver Sun run an editorial asking why the Pride Parade continues since gay marriage got legalized? What a silly thing to say.

Finally, the capper at the end, when they look forward to “big tobacco companies” taking over the industry so that cannabis will be properly regulated. Could you be more out of touch with reality?

Vancouver is Canada’s cannabis capital. The vast majority of people in this city support dispensaries and support the cannabis culture. These editorials make me realize why people aren’t reading Postmedia very much anymore.

Cannabis Culture Magazine

Cannabis Culture is an activist magazine dedicated to liberating marijuana, freeing pot-prisoners around the globe, and bringing an end to the vicious worldwide war on drugs.