There’s nothing but sunshine in the sky over Vancouver as the city hosts one of its biggest gatherings of the year.
The celebration of all things marijuana is, of course, officially scheduled to climax at 4:20 p.m. But booths and hardcore supporters were already on site on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery bright and early this morning.
This year’s rally for an end to prohibition promises to see a special guest in attendance. It’s the first April 20 since Canada’s self-proclaimed Prince of Pot, Marc Emery, walked out of a U.S. prison last August.
He’s sure to be on the scene alongside wife Jodie as one of the day’s main attractions.
It’s estimated that as many as 20,000 people will come together for an event that’s a mix of politics, protest, and party. According to the official 420 Vancouver website, that makes our annual cannabis festival one of the largest in the world.
The past 12 months were a big year for marijuana in and around Vancouver.
The number of storefront dispensaries climbed month over month, with upwards of 65 now selling pot within city limits. Civic leaders continue to allow those illegal businesses to operate without police interference as long as they play by the rules and don't sell to minors.
At the federal level, the dust has begun to settle on major regulatory changes that took effect at the end of last April. Discussed at length in a March 2015 Georgia Straight cover story, some advocates warn the new rules have resulted in corporate players coming to dominate the country’s legitimate medicinal-marijuana industry.
And while there hasn’t been much talk of legalization in B.C. since a push for an end to prohibition failed to garner the number of signatures required to put it to an official vote, the province is increasingly surrounded by jurisdictions moving towards legalization. In the United States, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska are already there or well on their way.
Vancouver's 4/20 celebration is happening today (April 20) at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 750 Hornby Street.