WATCH: Big crowds are expected for 4/20 in Victoria and Vancouver on Friday. It’s the day marijuana advocates gather to light up in public. But will that change now that legalization is just a few months away?
Organizers say marijuana legalization won’t put an end to 4/20 pot protests in the B.C. Capital.
Pot proponents, cannabis club members and marijuana smokers will converge on Victoria’s Centennial Square on Friday for a 4/20 smoke-in.
The 21st annual event, organized by the Victoria Cannabis Buyers Club, usually draws hundreds and even thousands of people.
Friday’s smoke-in will be the last one before marijuana becomes legal in Canada but organizers say that doesn’t mean they’ll stop holding 4/20 events.
“I can’t see it stopping anytime soon,” organizer Ted Smith says. “Once it’s legal, it will just keep getting bigger. It’s really a celebration of the cannabis culture more than a protest.”
The 4/20 events, which began in Vancouver and Victoria two decades ago as a way to fight for legalization, are now a worldwide phenomenon. But with Bill C-45 set to become law later this year legalizing marijuana, many people had assumed the 4/20 protests would end.
“Ideally, we would like to hold it in a park and charge admission and just have adults come but we can’t do that because of the clean air by-laws,” Smith says.
It’s not yet clear if police will enforce current laws, which prohibit marijuana smoking, at Friday’s 4/20 event. In previous years, police were on hand but didn’t intervene or make arrests.
The Victoria event is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. April 20 with the mass light-up at exactly 4:20 p.m.