Pubdate: Mon, 06 Mar 2017
Source: Vancouver Sun (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Postmedia Network Inc.
Author: Nick Eagland
Page: A2


The fate of Vancouver's growing annual 4/20 cannabis rally will be up
for debate Monday at a park board meeting that could pave the way for
permitted events.

The board will consider two motions, according to a report prepared by
Octavio Silva, manager of business development.

The first would deny approval or permits for any future 4/20 rally or
Cannabis Day event on park board property. But if that motion fails,
the park board will discuss granting the Vancouver 4/20 Events Society
a permit to hold its event on April 20 at Sunset Beach Park.

The board could direct staff to issue the permit "with all
arrangements to the satisfaction of the general manager of the park
board." It would also give the event an exemption to the anti-smoking
bylaw and grant vendors permission to sell food, beverages and other

In January, a group made up of city and park board staff, police, and
fire and rescue personnel was formed, along with a steering committee,
to look at improving the planning, decision-making and operation of
the 4/20 event.

"While both groups acknowledge the challenging aspects associated with
the 4/20 celebration and protest, they also recognize that the event
will occur regardless," the report said.

"Further, with the impending federal legalization of marijuana, there
is recognition that in the foreseeable future, the 4/20 initiative
will likely shift from being a protest to a legal celebration."

Monday, the board will weigh the risks and benefits of permitting the
4/20 event.

The board is concerned a permit would set precedent and encourage
other events involving smoking at parks and beaches. Allowing smoking
conflicts with the board's mandate of promoting health and allowing it
by permit could harm the park board's reputation because an illegal
product would be sold and consumed at the event, according to the report.

But a permit would also reduce the liability to the park board and
city by letting organizers seek insurance. It would regulate vendors,
help with cost recovery through permit fees - an estimated $155,000
for 2017 - and set clear processes and expectations that would help
improve compliance and communications, the report said.
- ---
MAP posted-by: Matt