Pubdate: Sat, 18 Apr 2015
Source: Tribune, The (CN ON)
Copyright: 2015, Osprey Media Group Inc.
Author: John Law
Page: A7


You've had a long day, but at least you scored some good blunt from
the IT guy Pasco. Before heading home, you decide to chill and spark
up in the park.

You're minding your own business. You aren't bothering anybody. But
unless you're a ganja ninja, Niagara's finest will find you.

"But Officer Friendly," you plead. "It's almost April 20=C2=85aren't you
supposed to look the other way?"

"Ah, but there's the problem, my cannabis consuming friend," he
replies. "It isn't April 20. It's actually April 18, so drop the
doobie and vacate the premises. And tell Pasco we're watching him."

For reasons unknown - except, perhaps, they don't want to smell like a
Grateful Dead concert when they go home - police across the land turn
a blind eye to people getting baked in public every April 20. At 4:20

Why 420, you ask? There have been some goofy explanations over the

- - It's the police radio code for marijuana (according to CSI, it's the
code for homicide).

- - It's to commemorate the death of Bob Marley (Um, no. He died on May
11, 1981.)

- - It's to mark Adolf Hitler's birthday (Yes, he was born on April 20.
And you're celebrating this=C2=85why?)

- - Bob Dylan originated it with his song Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35
(Get it? Multiply 12 by 35 and you get 420! Ugh, I'm so stoned.)

The real reason is kind of lame: In the early '70s, a group of high
school potheads in San Rafael would meet at 4:20 p.m. every day to
toke up somewhere on their high school campus. It became their code
word to establish where to meet.

 From this, a global movement was born. Because they got high.

According to High Times, 420 became a counterculture holiday in the
mid '90s. To help legitimize it, many events have a political bent,
calling for reform to marijuana legislation. Some do it to prove the
benefits of medical marijuana. Some just want to go full Shaggy in

Either way, it's the one day a year police look the other way. Which
continually astounds me. I've covered a few of these rallies in
Niagara Falls, and while everyone was well-behaved and advocates had
some valid, interesting things to say, the fact remains - it is still
illegal to possess any quantity of marijuana in Canada. A first time
minor possession conviction has a maximum penalty of six months in
jail and/or a $1,000 fine. If you have over 30 grams of marijuana, you
face the much more serious charge of Trafficking. You could be looking
at five years in jail.

It's a bizarre thing - one day a year, police decide something illegal
is okay for a few hours.

So with precedence set, I propose Brewsday Tuesday. On the first
Tuesday of summer, we all gather in a public park, crack open a cold
one, and march to=C2=85somewhere. I don't know. The nearest

How about No-Pants Monday? Let us discard the social trappings of
pantaloons and feel the wind beneath our things.

Whiskey Wednesday, anyone? Maybe for Shoplifting Sunday we pick a
random store and take whatever we want.

Ludicrous, you say? Illegal? So is pot in public, but not on April

Which brings us to Saturday in Niagara Falls. The annual 420 rally
starts at noon on the corner of Highway 420 and Victoria Ave. Give
stoners an inch, and they'll forget what day it is. The whole point of
420 - its origin, its symbolism - is that you gather on the 20th day
of the fourth month to spark your mary jane in public. It's kinda
weird, but=C2=85okay. We'll let it slide.

But now you want the 18th, too. What for? Is Monday booked? The cool
thing about 420 is that pro-pot proponents make their point all at the
same time. Office workers, advocates, the weirdo in the apartment next
door=C2=85they all do their chronic in unison. And the cops let it go.

On the 18th, you're pushing it. Pretty soon you'll want it in July
because the weather's nicer, or Labour Day because that's when Pasco
is back from Jamaica.

Free the weed, you say? Not if you bogart your own party.
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MAP posted-by: Matt