Ottawa’s 420 Delivers Boom for Local Businesses

CORNWALL FREE NEWS- More bongos than bingo cards, more women than men, Four-Twenty Ottawa huffed and puffed but did not blow down the House. By five o’clock the local restaurants were filling up.

The six to seven thousand people who had attended the annual 4/20 marijuana smoke-in demonstration on Parliament Hill flooded into local businesses after the rally. The mood was festive and upbeat. The weather held without a sprinkle of rain. Large circles of friends sat on blankets or the slightly damp Parliament lawn to share the moment. It was a giggling, foggy crime-spree.

The event was organized by Alex Newcombe, Ming Saad, Russell Barth, Mike Foster and Wayne Robillard. The group acquired permits, made arrangements, set up electricity, organized and acted as masters of ceremony. Alex Newcombe said, “The rules for today are; no booze, no rough housing, no dealing and no levitating. We had a big problem with levitating last year.”
There was a full line up of speakers on behalf of the medical marijuana movement with both personal histories and political takes that ran the afternoon.
Wayne Robillard spoke about vapor lounges. “We need vapor lounges in every community. The laws are crap. We need lounges. This has been a long hard battle. We should not be doing this. The government answers are lame. We need a safe haven for a music club or a comedy club, a place where we can talk to and look after each other. It should be whatever we want it to be.”
“We had a great turn out for Dana Larsen giving away free seeds a few weeks ago during the Overgrow Canada talk and we say thank you for that. We are being denied because people think we don’t know what we’re doing,” Wayne continued. “If you are too baked to drive, take Uber. That use to be illegal too.”
Steve, “This is no victory today. This is prohibition 2.0.”
Kevin Daniels accepted the microphone and spoke from Parliament’s steps. “Greetings brothers and sisters of the cannabis movement. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to stand with you here today on this most historic day of 4/20 and the legalization of cannabis in Canada.
“My name is Kevin Daniels. I’m the former National Chief of the Congress of Aboriginal People. I’m presently the National Vice President of the National Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association. I want to acknowledge Tim Barnhart from Tyendinaga owner of the 420 Legacy. I want to acknowledge Brian Marquis the President of the Ontario Indigenous Medical Cannabis Association and Rob Stevenson Bear Clan of the Alderville First Nation. I want to acknowledge Antoinette Cruz of British Columbia, our warm-hearted sister who knows more about cannabis than anyone.
“The National Indigenous Cannabis Association is a newly formed indigenous advocacy group made up of indigenous growers, indigenous dispensary owners, workers, patients and recreational users from coast to coast to coast and we are going to be mobilizing in mass numbers. At the present time, I want to thank the Creator for the gift of cannabis.”
The Yappers, a three-person band from Toronto played at last year’s 4/20 and returned for this year. Raymond Yap, Laney V, and Stew Sparks entertained the crowd. Yappers woman drummer, Laney V said, “It’s great to be here. We’re doing four songs after 4/20. We hung out to the end last year. We helped clean up the yard and saw the 4/20 gopher.”
Sherrie Morrison spoke up,” Come on. You’re going to legalize, you’re going to legalize. It has to be the right kind of access. You lock it up like any other medicine. What is this four-plant limit? This is not what we’re looking for. The Liberals want to monopolize it. They are cutting out the middle-man. Where is the money for the people?  It’s pretty ridiculous.”
“Comment in crowd “Why should you get penalized for getting a deal on marijuana by buying more than one ounce at a time? That doesn’t happen with beer.” Another said, “What happens if an eighteen-year-old shares a joint with his seventeen-year-old best friend?”
Alex Newcombe shouted, “Where are you, Mr. Trudeau? It is terrible that we are still being persecuted. Can we have a chat? SHAME. SHAME. SHAME.” 
A crowd of thousands of adults, grown-ups, hula hoop artists, landed gentry, bongo players, students and workers chanted the word SHAME thirty-four times on Parliament Hill in response to Bill C-45.
“This is what people think of your problems Mr. Trudeau. The people en masse standing on the lawn of Parliament are ashamed,” said Mr. Newcombe.
Security and safety were excellent on Parliament Hill. Police kept an eye on suspicious characters and the area was ringed by paramedic ambulances with the safety Bollards up at all the entrances.
Russell Barth announced the thirty-second mark. The crowd began counting down from 10, 9, 8…with a shout of Happy Four-Twenty.” There was a fog of smoke, air horns, cheers and lots of smoke.
Noble volunteers crisscrossed the Hill picking up garbage. The eternal flame in the middle of the fountain had been turned off to prevent accidents.
One fellow said, “I saw one person get sick. A twenty-something woman. She vomited. I think it was in the same spot that John A. Macdonald did. It was kind of romantic, really. Paramedics were on the scene quickly to help her out on a stretcher.”
Mike Foster who sponsored the event said, “I’m very impressed with the turnout. I know the weather was cooperating.”