Police report Vancouver's first 4/20 at Sunset Beach attracted a record crowd and few incidents

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      The Vancouver Police Department has released its official estimates for crowds at yesterday’s 4/20 rallies for marijuana.

      At a press conference this morning (April 21), VPD Staff Sergeant Randy Fincham said that the main event’s peak crowd saw approximately 25,000 people gather at Sunset Beach on the north end of the Burrard Street Bridge.

      Another much smaller group of 75 people attended a separate protest of Canadian marijuana laws. That was held on the south side of the Vancouver Art Gallery.

      Fincham reported that there were 31 medical incidents, 16 of which saw people taken to nearby St. Paul’s Hospital to receive further treatment.

      He said there were also three police incidents “of note”.

      “There was a 21-year-old man who attempted to swim across the inlet to the other side,” Fincham recounted. “And he about two-thirds of the way across and figured out he wasn’t going to make it. There was a police boat nearby with a lifeguard on it. They were able to pull him out of the water.

      “Later on, there was a woman who decided to take her clothes off as well and swim out into the channel where the boats travel back and forth, which is obviously a safety concern for us,” he continued.

      “And there was four gentlemen in an overloaded dingy that decided to go for a paddle without any safety equipment inside that dingy. They were escorted back to the marina on the other side.”

      The Vancouver police estimate 25,000 people met at Sunset Beach during the event's climax at 4:20 p.m.
      Jodie Emery

      Fincham said that it was too early to say how much the force spent on policing 4/20, which has seen events held in Vancouver every April 20 for more than 20 years now.

      He noted that the 2015 event held on the north side of the Vancouver Art Gallery cost police $50,000. Fincham said the total cost for 2016 will probably be more than that on account of there being two events this year held simultaneously at separate locations.

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