Pubdate: Tue, 04 Apr 2017
Source: Vancouver 24hours (CN BC)
Copyright: 2017 Vancouver 24 hrs.
Author: Dana Larsen
Page: 7


Permit or no permit, why Vancouver should embrace 4/20 Day

Vancouver's annual 4/20 is going to be at Sunset Beach -- and this
year will be bigger than ever.

Since we began with a small gathering of activists in 1995,
Vancouver's 4/20 protest has grown into one of the city's largest and
most well-known public celebrations. Around 100,000 people now show up
to protest prohibition, celebrate Vancouver's world-famous cannabis
culture and enjoy a unique marijuana farmer's market.

4/20 is both protest and celebration. We're protesting the ongoing
arrests and raids against our people. We're also celebrating the
wonderful benefits of cannabis.

BC's cannabis industry brings billions of dollars into our economy and
provides tens of thousands of jobs across the province. In Vancouver,
the dispensary boom is providing employment to thousands of people,
while generating tax revenue for all levels of government.

Thanks to years of pressure from Vancouver's cannabis community, the
VPD have long-since stopped wasting their time going after pot
smokers. This policy change has saved taxpayers millions of dollars
while allowing police to redirect resources towards real crimes.

Dispensaries are also saving lives. American studies have found that
states with cannabis dispensaries have significantly lower rates of
opioid use and fewer overdose deaths. There's no question that
dispensaries provide a safer pain-relieving alternative to often
deadly opiates.

Sadly, the NPA-dominated Park Board voted 4 to 3 to reject our 4/20
permit application for Sunset Beach and actually banned us from
holding our event in any other city park -- despite the clear
recommendation from their own staff that our permit be approved. The
Park Board has the power to grant us a permit for our cannabis event
the same way they can issue permits for the alcohol events, which the
city and park board regularly promote and subsidize for millions of

In a democracy, when 100,000 citizens want to gather in peaceful
protest and celebration, their political leaders have a duty not to
obstruct them. Sunset Beach is a public space and regularly used for
other civic protests and celebrations. Cannabis users are citizens too
and we have the right to gather together once a year just like anyone

Vancouver's annual 4/20 celebration will be at Sunset Beach again this
year and will remain at Sunset Beach for the years to come. Frankly,
there's simply no other public space in the city suitable for a
gathering of this size and scope, except perhaps for the PNE.

(Dana Larsen is a 4/20 organizer and Director of Sensible BC)
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MAP posted-by: Matt