4/20 coming to Vancouver

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If you like marijuana and dancing in the rain, then check out 4/20 Smoke Out on April 20 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

The Vancouver 4/20 protest celebration is a unique and incredible experience that, almost, everyone is sure to enjoy!

This year’s event will take place on Sunday, April 20 at the Vancouver Art Gallery (750 Hornby Street).

The event first came to be in April 1995. Read below for an excerpt that Canadian marijuana activist Marc Emery wrote in 2010 for a Cannabis Culture article about 4/20:

“I remember my [HEMP B.C.] store manager Danna Rozek and an employee named Cindy Lassu came up to me in early April 1995, and said, “Marc, can we have a 4/20 celebration on April 20 next door in Victory Park?” I responded, “like, on 4:20 in the afternoon on April 20?” and they said, “No, like all day on April 20.”

“What will we do all day?” I asked, and they said “Smoke pot all day and play music.” I replied, “we can’t just smoke pot all day. That’s decadent. No, you can’t do it.”

Rebuffed, Ms. Rozek then asked, “Can we just go ahead and do it anyway even if you don’t approve?” So I said yes and the staff organized the first April 20 celebration I ever heard of, at Victory Square/Park next door.

200 people came that April 20, 1995 and it was a lovely time, with music starting at 2 p.m. and going till 7 p.m.

In 1996, over 500 people came to Victory Park and smoked pot all day with the event starting at noon.

It was decided that Victory Square was too small for the 1997 April 20 smoke-fest, so the traditional political rally location of the Vancouver Art Gallery, in downtown Vancouver’s financial district, was the site of the 1997 4/20 celebration. Over 1,000 people attended the 1997 Vancouver 4/20 and was widely covered in media and the phenomenon began to spread to other locations across North America.”

Thanks to the creation of YouTube in 2006, the event has since grown more popular, since the video-sharing website “helped show people worldwide what was happening in Vancouver.”

In 2007, Vancouver held the world’s largest 4/20 celebration with 7,000 people packed into the small downtown Art Gallery Square, nearly spilling onto the streets as clouds of cannabis smoke wafted through the city’s core and vendors wandered around selling cannabis, which was becoming an increasingly popular activity at the event.

Since then, the event’s been growing more busy by the year. Thanks to YouTube and the awareness it fostered, Vancouver’s 4/20 event has become “the largest free protest festival in Vancouver” that features “day-long music, public speakers (always including Marc Emery until his extradition to the U.S. in May 2010), and the world’s only open-air public cannabis farmer’s market where people sell all kinds of cannabis and extracts while educating the crowd about medical marijuana, political involvement, activism, and much more.”

More than 10,000 people regularly attend the event. Numbers even reach up to about 13,000 closer to the 4:20 p.m. countdown and free joint toss, which has been popular at the event for many years.

More about 4/20

  • A group of high school friends, who called themselves “The Waldos,” in California used the number “420” as a code for marijuana in the 1970s. The group met each day at 4:20 p.m. to smoke pot.
  • “The Waldos” spread the “420” code for smoking marijuana “amongst the Dead subculture.”

For more information about the event, or if you’d like to volunteer, check out: www.420vancouver.com.

 

Feature image: 420 Vancouver

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Nagin Rezaiean General Columnist at Vancity Buzz.

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