News for Youse: Harper's closing prisons, Zimmerman's non-apology, and 420 descends on Vancouver

If you run into hordes of slow-moving, red-eyed people in downtown Vancouver today, do not panic. These are not zombies, there has not been an explosion, gas leak, or mass pepper spraying. No, they are just among the 10,000 people expected to descend on the Vancouver Art Gallery today for 420, the annual celebration of all things cannabis-related. They are docile, peaceful people who are just looking to rock the ganj and have a good time. Talk to them; they are guaranteed to be friendly. But do not consume any food they offer lest you become one of them.

(Seriously, though, trust us on this one. Never eat anything offered to you at a pot rally.)

Can't make it downtown? Cannabis Culture will be streaming the whole thing live, as well as covering events in Toronto.

In not-so-lighthearted news, Harper's government has announced plans to close two federal prisons, including the notorious Kingston penitentiary, as well as a regional treatment facility. The closure will put 1,340 people out of work, and there are no plans to reduce the prison population proportionally.

The government points out that prisoner populations are down—neither Kingston or Leclerc Institution in Laval, Quebec are operating at full capacity—and the closures will save the government $120 million a year, which they can then spend on contracts with private prison companies, which will be needed to house the likely explosive rise in prisoners—a majority of which will be non-violent drug offenders; listen up 420 participants!—due to Harper's draconian omnibus crime bill.

Or maybe not. Maybe they'll just keep cramming them into the remaining existing facilities. News for Youse has a theory about this: eventually the number of inmates in tighter and tighter quarters will reach a critical mass, resulting in the prison population turning in upon itself in a epically bloody battle for territory and resources.

Yes, that's right. The Canadian government is prepping for its very own Hunger Games, a mass orgy of gore and suffering for its own amusement—although we're not sure how they'll broadcast it to the masses yet, seeing as they keep siphoning dollars away from the CBC.

The more we think about it, the more we are convinced this is the path down which we are headed. Really, what other explanation can there be?

(Please leave your alternate theories in the comments below.)

Not to belabour a point, but they're still pulling sick and deformed sealife out of the Gulf of Mexico. Fishermen and scientists have found fish with open sores, eyeless shrimp, crustaceans with tumors, you now, fun things like that. Now, there's no proof that the five million barrels of oil that spilled out of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil platform have anything to do with this—or that this anomalous seafood will cause any harm to humans if eaten—but, c'mon.

In Non-Apology Watch news, George Zimmerman made a stunning non-apology to the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17-year-old unarmed kid Zimmerman shot to death in February. Zimmerman, who is being charged with second-degree murder, took to the stand on April 19 for a bail hearing, and said this:

“I wanted to say I am sorry for the loss of your son. I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. And I did not know if he was armed or not.”

That, dear readers, is not an apology. That is a man trying to excuse his inexcusable actions. Way to go.

Ugh, all of this news is super fucking depressing. April 20 is supposed to be a day of joy and celebration, a time to show support for the legalization of marijuana, and get really fucking baked at the VAG.

It's also about nomming a serious amount of food, like, say, 1,050 pieces of bacon on a Whopper from Burger King. It'll only set you back $90 in Japan. But the ensuing heart attack? Priceless.

For up-to-the-minute 420 rally coverage, follow Miranda Nelson on Twitter.

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