Thousands of people will gather tomorrow (April 20) on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery to celebrate all things marijuana.
The gathering—always guaranteed to produce a cloud of smoke potent enough to make Snoop Dogg proud—was first held in Vancouver in 1995. Since then, attendance has grown every year.
Tomorrow’s festival promises to be especially notable for the fact that it could be Marc Emery’s last —at least for the next five years.
“I can be extradited on four hours’ notice,” Emery, who was arrested in July 2005 for allegedly trafficking marijuana in the U.S., told the Straight.
“I am really quite surprised that I am even here for this event,” he added, speaking from his home in Vancouver. “But the number of people writing the justice minister asking him not to extradite me has had a good impact.”
Emery said that he expects 6,000 to 8,000 people to show up tomorrow—less than previous years on account of the event happening on a weekday.
Still, Emery remarked, he’s looking forward to a festive atmosphere that those downtown will likely be able to hear—and smell—from three blocks away.
In addition to the Canadian Prince of Pot’s attendance, many are looking at this year’s 420 celebration as special as it will act as something of a coming-home party for local marijuana legend David Malmo-Levine.
On February 26, Malmo-Levine was released from a six-month prison sentence, which he served for possession for the purpose of trafficking. Malmo-Levine is scheduled to act as master of ceremonies for tomorrow’s festival.
The Straight asked Emery if Malmo-Levine’s recent time in jail combined with hours in front of a microphone could give the event a more political tone than previous years. Emery would only say that it has been nice to have Malmo-Levine around again and that for Vancouver, April 20 is much more of a celebration than a protest.
He also noted that the Vancouver Police Department has always been “really helpful” in monitoring and—when needed—controlling the festival’s large crowds.
Vancouver’s 420 celebration is scheduled to run from 1 p.m. until 9 p.m.
According to a Cannabis Culture article, “free weed” will be on hand at the VAG tomorrow, and prizes will be awarded for the best plants and best posters that Vancouver’s heads can produce.
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