The 38th annual Cannabis Day Protest was held as it should. Through deliberate contact with the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Police, weeks of planning emerged hoping that for once in history we could work together and have a sanctioned gathering. Even though getting a permit would be the easiest most efficient way of pulling off an event without interference from local governments and city officials, due to the civil disobedient nature and the nature of our gathering “Cannabis Activism” we would never be given a permit if we wanted one.
In addition, our “open drug market” was so much more than simply a party. Although legalization took place and became effective federally in 2017, so many municipalities have yet to accept the Cannabis plants medicinal properties. In some cities you most likely will not find a dispensary at all. The strict regime the government has advised in the new bill c_45 bill is disastrous, and they clearly have got the whole idea wrong. The government has only considered seemless profits, cutting out any competition, defining and making clear the unique differences between legal cannabis & illicit cannabis. Why is there a difference, and why does our government get to control all this now. What happened to the medicinal patients? What happened to consulting the veterans, in the industry for decades fighting to Free the Plant.
Furthermore, the notion that we are occupying the beach to allow easy access to youth and children is Government jargon. Our community isn’t here to hurt anyone. We only want he freedom, access, and fair rights to Cannabis as the government has developed. Medicinal patients deserve to be heard, compassion cafes need to be considered along with safe consumption spaces.
Over 150 vendors showed up to Sunset Beach in Vancouver. An estimated 10,0000 people attended this event making it the largest Cannabis Day Ever!
Originally, we were to occupy our common protest grounds, the Vancouver Art Gallery. 3 weeks before the event Vancouver Police contacted us to inform us of Festival that was permitted to use the space the same day. In discussions and through compromise both sides agreed to move the event to Sunset Beach. VPD and 420 Vancouver continued to work together to reach a mutual respectful relationship. We moved on to the new location developing a new layout and informing members of the news. The police promised that there would be no interfere due to the fact we had a Safety plan. They asked only if we would re-seed the grass after use.
With only a week left the city of Vancouver called to to tell us that we could not use the grass, we agree to use the beach instead itself for the protest. After several conversations directly with the city officials they agreed to also allow access to the parking lot for porta potties and emergency services. They also ensured that the only parts of the beach that would occupy fencing was half of the grassed area.
The morning of the event we arrived to find that that the Vancouver Police and City had lied, they had blocked the parking lot with barricades. Police tried their best to stop people from unloading making a very unsafe environment almost causing accidents. The entire first beach and parking lot was unaccessible, blue fencing adjacent first beach pathway from the second parking lot all around the first parking lot. They would not allow our porta potties or our medical and safety crew to use the parking lot as promised. Not to mention the cleaning lady was locking the public washroom on the beach stating that it was to be locked for the day. After demanding human dignity and advising of the nature of the protest and amount of crowd on the beach that day you could not expect people to not have a washroom!! It was inhuman and the simple fact we had to argue for our basic right to urinate was horrific!
Fortunately we had hired a construction crew to block roads and help unload vendors as fast as possible.
This unfortunately caused a huge delay in set up of the stage. They tried to prevent our stage set up all together. After downsizing to their satisfaction they decided to try and stop us from having our sound set up as well. Anything they could do to mess with our rights & freedoms to have a voice.
All of this prevented the people for setting up in the assigned spots causing a huge safely hazard as we could not follow our safely plan. Fuck you the Vancouver Police and City for causing a major safety concern!!! You can leave a complaint at the OPCC at (250) 356-7458 or visit the webpage at https://vpd.ca/contact-us/compliments-complaints/
They delay lasted 2.5hours and disorganized our set up. This caused the vendors placement disform and vendors ended up in the wrong assigned spots and created many more safety hazards. The event however proceeded and people filled the beach. The 420 Professor, Ajia Moon, Cindy Howell spoke about cannabis prohibition. We had live entertainment for all to enjoy. Elvis Nelson, Mosaic Ridden, Eclipse, Mo Dirt, Pradawest, Calm like a Balm, Snak The Ripper, Merkules and others played!
And you know whats the best part? It was PEACEFUL, and no issues, arrests, or concerns were risen!
We left the beach just as beautiful as it was found. We respected each other, the land, & the crowd.
Despite the hurdles and deterrence we pulled off an amazing learning experience!! Never let the City TRAP us on the beach EVER again!
See You at BC BUD DAY!!