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Businesses hope for bottom line bump as pot smokers gather for 4/20

Last Updated Apr 20, 2016 at 8:46 am PDT

(Mike Lloyd, NEWS 1130 Photo)

Organizers claim as many as 50,000 thousand could attend the annual event

First time the rally is being held at Sunset Beach

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Things were relatively quiet as the sun rose over Vancouver’s iconic Sunset Beach this morning, but it’s going to be a very different scene this afternoon when tens of thousands of pro-pot protesters pack in to the West End for the annual 4/20 rally.

This is the first time the rally is being held at this location and local business owners aren’t sure how things will play out. They’re hoping for a calm, respectful crowd and maybe a boost in business.

But Stephen Regan with the West End Business Improvement Association says it’s not your usual sanctioned and planned event. “We’re cautiously optimistic that it will be a well behaved group that the city, police and the Park Board will manage things well.”

“For 4/20 is an event that falls outside the usual parameters, so there’s a little bit of a concern about making sure everyone is safe and that access into the West End is not hampered,” he adds.

He wonders about the checks and balances when it comes to things like insurance. “We’re really not quite sure how it works on 4/20, but we’re going to monitor and hope that everyone has a safe experience.”

Meantime, a small group of protesters is camping outside the Vancouver Art Gallery. About 30 pot sellers are expected to set up stands later today. The organizer of that event calls it a so-called ‘true protest of unjust laws’ regarding pot laws in this country.

The nearby Vancouver Aquatic Centre is closed today over fears smoke from the event will travel into the building and affect those who may have respiratory issues.