4/20 Vancouver cannabis fest once again reveals differences between city's Green politicians

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      For the second straight year, the two Green commissioners on the Vancouver park board are singing from different song sheets when it comes to the 4/20 cannabis protest at Sunset Beach Park.

      One-term commissioner and former park board chair Michael Wiebe told the Star that he thinks "it'll be an easy process to make sure that field is back to working condition".

      He also praised 4/20 organizers for "stepping up" with better organization this year.

      His fellow Green, park board chair Stuart Mackinnon, struck a more sombre tone after inspecting the field at Sunset Beach Park yesterday.

      After the park board declared that it will keep the field closed "for up to 10 weeks for major rehabilitation", Mackinnon pronounced that this was a "troubling loss of park space".

      Comments below that tweet reflected deep public cynicism over the park board's decision to erect blue fencing around the field.

      Last year, Mackinnon joined three NPA commissioners (John Coupar, Casey Crawford, and Sarah Kirby-Yung) in voting to outlaw cannabis-related events on park board property.

      Part of the justification was that 4/20 violates a smoking ban on beaches.

      Wiebe along with Vision Vancouver's Catherine Evans and former NPA caucus member Erin Shum voted against the motion.

      The park commissioner on the left (John Coupar) and the three on the right (Stuart Mackinnon, Casey Crawford, and Sarah Kirby-Yung) voted to ban cannabis events in parks; three on the centre-left of the photo (Catherine Evans, Ein Shum, and Michael Wiebe) voted against.
      Vancouver park board

      The city's only Green councillor, Adriane Carr, tried to resolve the impasse last year.

      In March 2017, she introduced a motion seeking council's approval to direct city staff to look at three alternative sites: the Pacific National Exhibition, the north side of False Creek, and Larwill Park, which is the block-size parking lot across from the Sandman Hotel on West Georgia Street.

      Carr was unable to win support for this from a single Vision Vancouver member of council.

      Instead, the Vision Vancouver majority and NPA councillor George Affleck voted to take the motion off the table, referring this to staff "for consideration pending the anticipated legal framework for cannabis by the Government of Canada".

      This motion to refer was opposed by Carr and NPA councillors Elizabeth Ball and Melissa De Genova. Mayor Gregor Robertson was absent for the vote.

      Should Wiebe run for council in 2018 and should the Greens be in a much stronger position following the October 20 election, it's conceivable that the city could come up with a new legally sanctioned location for 4/20 next year.

      Jodie Emery

      In the meantime, the Vancouver 420 Events Society has given $4,200 cheques to St. Paul's Hospital and Firefighter's Snack for Kids.

      This was highlighted over social media by long-time cannabis-legalization advocate Jodie Emery.

      "We're good people who love our #Vancouver community & we're dedicated to improving the lives of our fellow citizens!" Emery tweeted.