Vancouver school board ensures highest number of 420 attendees to date at the Vancouver Art Gallery
I'd like to thank whoever it was at the Vancouver school board that scheduled a professional development day on April 20 for at least a dozen high schools and the majority of elementary schools in the city; District 43 (Coquitlam) also held a district-wide non-instructional day. I would imagine the thousands of Lower Mainland students not in classrooms were the primary reason that this year it felt like the demographics skewed awfully young.
It was distressing to watch two 12-year-olds debating which kind of pot cookies to buy. I absolutely love the free-market aspect of 420, and I support an adult's right to use the medicine that they want to use, to responsibly enjoy their vices. But that's one of the real downsides to an unregulated industry: you can't ensure that people are as safe as they possibly can be, and you can't prevent children and teenagers from purchasing it.
Pro-legalization isn't pro-stupidity. I'm not in favour of underage drinking, and I'm not in favour of tweeners using marijuana, especially edibles (which you must be very careful about dosing correctly, especially if they come from a source you've never used before) and especially in such an atypical situation (never try pot for the first time at a pot rally).
The key to responsible drug use is education and common sense. Were people ID'd before buying product? Was there any kind of standardized dosage in edibles? Did the pamphlets handed out by vendors contain information about their product or about marijuana dosages and effects?
In order for the legalization of cannabis to be accepted—hell, even just tolerated—by mainstream society, it's going to need to rehab its image.
Most people still see pot smokers as lazy fucking hippies, drains on society, rebellious children who aren't interested in anything beyond a temporary high. While the demographic attracted to 420 at the art gallery is a very diverse one, seeing thousands of school-aged kids there on the evening news does nothing to improve the image of marijuana in the eyes of parents, does it? Really, it kind of makes the movement look irresponsible. (And parents, quite frankly. Do you know where your kid was on Friday?)
The majority of cannabis users I know are some of the most intelligent, thoughtful, passionate individuals I've ever met. They know the issues, they respect the plant, and they do their part to help educate others. They are not passive stoners. They are not criminal masterminds.
Whatever this year’s event was is no longer what it is. It attracts far too many people to permanently remain in the area it occupies, it's a massive inconvenience for commuters, and it's a mess of confusion on the ground. There's a whole year until 420 takes place again; that's plenty of time to make a concerted change in location, scope, funding, whatever needs to happen to either bring this event back to its roots or acknowledge the change that has occurred and adapt accordingly.
Besides, April 20 is a Saturday next year, which means not one Lower Mainland student will be sitting in a classroom; where do you think they're gonna be?