Pubdate: Mon, 21 Apr 2014
Source: Province, The (CN BC)
Copyright: 2014 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Ian Austin
Page: A14
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


Some 30,000 People Take Part As Pot Purveyors and Practitioners Light 
Up Peacefully

Easter Sunday in Vancouver featured a holy grail of a different nature.

A hazy, crazy afternoon offered 420 No. 20 outside the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Since 1995, increasingly large numbers of pot purveyors and 
practitioners have gathered outside the gallery on April 20 in what 
has become a worldwide phenomenon.

"This is the 20th 4/20 in #Vancouver, where it all started," tweeted 
out marijuana advocate Jodie Emery. "Now it's on every continent on 
earth, celebrations in over 300 cities! #420"

Walking west from Vancouver's business centre at Granville and 
Georgia, the first sign that something was amiss was the crosslegged 
sitar player outside the lobby of the TD bank.

In front of the Hotel Georgia - where six clogged lanes of traffic 
are the norm - a mostly young, male crowd formed dozens of circles to 
pass around bongs and blunts.

On a stage outside the Art Gallery, Emery - her pot-advocate husband 
Marc's larger-than-life poster looming overhead - started the last 
second countdown to 4:20 p.m., a mid-afternoon 1970s tradition dating 
back to laid-back Marin County, Calif.

"Let's send smoke signals across the city, across the country, around 
the damn world," shouted Emery as two very popular coemcees hurled 
dozens and dozens of prerolled joints to the enthusiastic partiers. 
"Legalize it."

Others had prepared for the mass smoke in by purchasing pot from 
dozens of stalls or street sellers with Easter-themed pitches.

"Get your totally organic God-bud here," shouted a man with a 
megaphone at Howe and Georgia, holding aloft a pillow-sized Zip-Loc 
bag bulging with weed. "Twenty bucks for an eighth."

A group of police within sight and earshot of the illegal offer chose 
to ignore the flouting of the law.

"This is non-antagonistic," said one police veteran. "The biggest 
problem we have is traffic. Once we get the traffic rerouted, it's a 
problem-free event, other than a few people getting sick from too many cookies.

"This 420 is going to happen - we police it properly. If we tried to 
stop it, that would be a problem."

Emery counted down from 20, and in unison every third or fourth 
person in the giant crowd lit up. The Bob Marley anthem Legalize It 
boomed from the stage at precisely 4:20 p.m. as a news helicopter and 
an overhead drone captured live-streaming images of 30,000 people 
lighting up as one.

"How y'all feeling," the DJ shouted at song's end, as an ill-timed 
shower dampened the glazed crowd's enthusiasm.

"I've got the munchies," shouted one enthusiastic participant as the 
crowd began to seek refuge in nearby cafes, doughnut shops, and pizzerias.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom