Park board votes against 4/20—and 10 reasons why cannabis users can consider the event a protest

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      Once again, the Vancouver park board has voted to oppose the annual 4/20 event at Sunset Beach.

      It occurred after NPA commissioner John Coupar introduced an "urgent" motion directing staff to request that organizers cancel the cannabis festival and protest.

      It's probably a moot point because the mayor, Kennedy Stewart, has already told CBC News that it's unlikely that police will be deployed to thwart an event attended by tens of thousands of people.

      Coupar, however, wonders if the city could use its resources, including vehicles, to prevent Cypress Hill from performing.

      "I'm saying that perhaps we restrict access so that a major stage with major amplification equipment is not set up," Coupar told reporters before last night's meeting.

      After the vote, Coupar said that he's hopeful that the size of the event can be scaled back.

      Meanwhile, 4/20 organizer Dana Larsen has dismissed the park board's request for cancellation.


      10 reasons to protest cannabis policies

      The media—and particularly CKNW Radio—has been trying to whip up hatred for 4/20 by suggesting that there's nothing to protest now that cannabis is legal.

      It's the height of ignorance.

      In fact, cannabis-legalization activists believe that the actions of the Trudeau and Horgan governments amount to Prohibition 2.0—and there's a great deal worth protesting.

      Here are just 10 of their objections:

      1. Users cannot choose which blends they want to buy; the government makes this choice by controlling the wholesale trade.

      2. Users are often forced to buy cannabis online with a credit card due to a lack of retail outlets, which means it gets shipped to their homes. This deprives them of the privacy that comes with visiting a store and paying cash. In some cases, it could put their jobs in jeopardy if it was disclosed to their employer that they consumed cannabis in their free time.

      3. Medicinal users of cannabis are being taxed whereas sales taxes are not applied to prescription medicines.

      4. Governments have been extremely slow to promote the use of cannabis as a substitute for opioids, thereby contributing to the deaths of Canadians.

      5. Government advertising about cannabis is highly misleading and designed to preserve its monopoly.

      6. Craft cannabis growers are getting shafted by provincial governments, who are favouring large publicly traded licensed producers for their supplies.

      7. Cannabis-impaired driving laws are unconstitutional and will result in people being brought into police stations even when they're not high. This is due to shortcomings in the government-approved roadside testing machine.

      8. Cannabis users worry that eventually, the government will replace the roadside-testing regime with administrative penalties that can be issued by police regardless of proof that a person is high. Moreover, these administrative penalties will be accessible via databases made available to U.S. border officials. That, in turn, would likely result in Canadians being denied entry into the U.S. even though they haven't been convicted of anything. 

      9. The Cannabis Act's prohibitions on marketing are clearly unconstitutional, infringing on section 2 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

      10. Tenants face undue restrictions on growing their own cannabis at home.

      That's to say nothing of onerous municipal restrictions on the location of retail stores. This deprives people of easy and quick access to cannabis even though it's legal.

      So the next time you hear a broadcaster or a columnist claim that 4/20 cannot be considered a protest because the plant is legal, please keep these 10 points in mind.

      I could add other things to the list, like the medical community's widespread ignorance about cannabis. This is notwithstanding its efficacy in the treatment of a rare form of childhood epilepsy.

      Then there's the politicians' appalling lack of curiosity about the potential benefits of cannabis in treating posttraumatic stress disorder—which is leading a sizeable number of our veterans to commit suicide.

      It's easier and simpler for moronic radio broadcasters to demonize Dana Larsen about 4/20 and leave the false impression that he's only in it for the money.

      He's not.

      Larsen is trying to bring about social change, sometimes at great risk to his personal liberty.

      It's time this was recognized—even by those who vehemently disagree with him.