Pubdate: Thu, 27 Apr 2000
Source: Daily Herald Tribune, The (CN AB)
Copyright: 2000 The Daily Herald Tribune
Contact:  Postal Bag 3000, 10604 - 100 Street, Grande Prairie, Alberta T8V 6V4
Fax: (780) 532-2120
Author: Scott Seymour


More than 150 area teenagers flock to pro-marijuana

The long weekend started off with a bong for many area teenagers

A crowd numbering somewhere between 150 and 200 gathered in front of
the Muskoseepi Park amphitheatre after school to take part in 4-20
Day, an informal rally held in several North American cities to
protest marijuana laws. The rally was made up mostly of older teens
with some young adults and junior-high students mixed in. Most were
from the city, although kids from Fairview, Beaverlodge and Calgary
were said to be there.

Some smoked marijuana joints and took hits from bongs - long tubes
used to inhale the smoke - passed around the impromptu party.

Others hung out in front of the outdoor stage, played hackey-sack,
listened to a pair of bongo drummers ply their trade and generally
enjoyed themselves.

"It's a just a big party for people to hang out at," said a
17-year-old. "You meet lots of new people. It's a sociable thing."
Another man, an 18-year-old who moved here from Vancouver Island
recently, said the day is well known in big cities like Vancouver.

"It's better than hanging out at the mall," he said. "Word travels
fast with something like this."

It's not known where 4-20 Day got started, but, aside from being 20th
day of the fourth month, 4-20 is the police code for a drug bust in
Los Angeles.

It's believed to be the third or fourth year that 4-20 Day has been
"recognized" here. Roughly the same number attended last year.

"This is our official protest for the legalization of marijuana and
you can tell everybody that," said one defiant youth who offered his
pipe to passersby. "Everybody here wants it legal."

But not everyone was enthused about the weed.

"I just came here with friends and tried it for the first time," said
a Beaverlodge lad. "I don't see what the big stink is about."

Another 19-year-old said he was disappointed he didn't see more adults

"I thought the crowd was pretty young," he said. "I know so many
people who are 50 years old and still smokin' but none of the old
school was here. Where's the dedication?"

The get-together lasted about for about 90 minutes until RCMP and
officers from Grande Prairie Enforcement Services arrived around 5:30
p.m. The youths were asked to leave because they didn't have a permit
to use the amphitheatre and its grounds.

"It's just a group of people trying to protest the government, and
they have the right to do that," said RCMP Const. Ann Morrison.

"They moved along peacefully." 
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