Vancouver's 2015 celebration for 4/20 sees Marc Emery return to centre stage

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      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.



      Doug Pederson AKA SpectateSwamp

      Apr 20, 2015 at 10:33am

      Pot makes you smarter. Or at least makes work more fun and thus you do a better job. I know. I have been a computer programmer since 1970.


      Apr 20, 2015 at 10:39am

      "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."

      If they are a illegal, how do they get a business license. Why don't the police close them if they are illegal?

      Jon Q. Publik

      Apr 20, 2015 at 11:31am

      Could someone please tell me what Marc or his wife have actually done to legalize marijuana? Because every time he makes the news I really struggle to understand why he is important to the "movement".


      Apr 20, 2015 at 1:15pm

      It is not all that shocking that the BC Marijuana Party was shut down by the Americans. We should all be thankful that they are not bombing us cause they don't like our beliefs.


      Apr 21, 2015 at 10:31am

      The 4:20 celebration has been hijacked by the Emerys and their political interests! Support the liberals? Wait, don't the Liberals support bill C-51? So Marc Emery supports C-51. He would rather sacrifice our privacy rights and throw real resistance under the bus to forward his own reputation of "the guy who legalized marijuana." I appreciate some of his work, but after seeing that banner downtown yesterday, I felt embarassed to be there. You lost my support Marc, oh yeah and F*ck John Galt.


      Apr 21, 2015 at 11:51am

      Marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver are allowed to operate without business licenses. The problem for the city is that they have no existing category for these types of business and can't create a new category as long as pot remains illegal - a municipal bylaw can't contravene federal law. As for why police don't shut them down, it's a matter of enforcement priorities. With finite resources, the VPD choose to focus on violent traffickers and harder drugs rather than peaceful, (mostly) well managed small businesses. They also recognize that there's very little public demand for them to crack down on dispensaries.

      Both of these issues are discussed here:


      Apr 21, 2015 at 2:07pm

      Many illegal marijuana dispenseries along Hastings are fronts for organized crime. Period.

      With asshats in Surrey playing shoot-em-up, you'd think our cops would sit with gaga Gregor and devise a plan to manage what's going on. I reject his excuse that the Feds are totally responsible--who's running this city, anyway?

      As for Marc Emery and his partner Jody---they say it's perfectly OK for teens to smoke (hello, developing brain research specifically proves that's a lie) and that pregnant women use it as a 'medical' intervention for morning sickness. And we shall not talk of all the drivers who enthusiastically back the claim that driving high is soooo much more respectable that driving drunk.

      Thanks, Dr. FeelGood, but think I'll stick to the research. Honestly, is Emery deliberately undermining any credibility he has left?

      Oh, and 'lessons learned' about the crowd at 4/20, Mr. Mayor? You might want to check with St. Paul's about the 64 people who presented due to eating/drinking product from unlicensed weed product purveyors.

      Way to go, dude! All those 14 year old voters are gonna think you're pretty groovy...


      Apr 21, 2015 at 3:37pm

      Jon Q. Publik, Marc Emery has donated millions of dollars in seed sales towards the funding of the legalization movement. He helped medicinal and recreational marijuana become legalized in Washington and Colorado by donating money to fund the campaigns.

      His arrest was a political attack on the legalization movement. If you do your research there are records online proving his seed sales went to the legalization movement - millions of dollars worth! Marc Emery has been influencing the legalization movement since the early 90's and he isn't going to stop until prohibition ends.