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Organizers of 4/20 Vancouver warned to expect crackdown on illegal sales

Last Updated Mar 6, 2019 at 6:20 pm PDT

The scene at Sunset Beach in Vancouver at 4:20 p.m. on 4/20 in 2018. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth expects police to enforce laws surrounding marijuana products

This year's 4/20 event will be the first since cannabis became legal in Canada

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Organizers of Vancouver’s 4/20 pot rally aren’t getting much sympathy from the provincial government as they search for a new home.

City councillors have yet to approve a site that’s suitable, considering smoking — of any kind — is banned in any Vancouver park and PNE directors have already made it clear they’re not footing the bill for expenses that could top a quarter million dollars.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth agrees, saying he also expects police to enforce laws surrounding marijuana products.

“Edibles are not legal yet. They won’t be legal until October the 17th. That’s when the federal government has indicated that they will be legal.”

Dana Larsen, one of the organizers of this year’s event at Sunset Beach says he’ll be surprised to see police handing out any tickets or making arrests.

“That’s up to the VPD, but I expect they will continue their policy that they’ve had in place for well over ten years now, of not making arrests over minor cannabis offences,” he says. “They don’t come after dispensaries in the city, it would seem strange of them to start coming after our annual protest.”

Larsen continues to insist this event is a protest, saying the Park Board’s refusal to grant permits is proof of discrimination against something that’s now legal.

This year’s 4/20 will be the first since marijuana became legal in Canada. Vendors face being arrested if they are caught selling unlicensed products at the event at Sunset Beach.

“It’s certainly my expectation that the event would follow the rules and the laws of Canada, as well as the province,” Farnworth said.

“I would encourage organizations to work with the local government to abide by the law. I think that’s what the public expects,” he added.

In the past, organizers have only paid a fraction of costs linked to policing, medical emergency calls, and clean-up costs that end up getting covered by taxpayers.

 – With files from Liza Yuzda