Hundreds of cannabis enthusiasts turned out for the 420 event at the B.C. legislature Saturday to both protest and celebrate the new era of legalization.
Of the event’s 21-year existence, this is the first time cannabis – the star of the party – is legal.
Normally celebrated at Centennial Square by city hall, organizers received authorization to move the annual celebration to the higher profile location of the B.C. legislature this year.
Cheers rose and joints were lit at 4:20 p.m. as local cannabis activist Ted Smith took the stage as MC for the event.
While the atmosphere was one of celebration, Smith said there is still work to be done – namely, looking at where cannabis can be smoked, and who can sell it.
“The way legalization is set up is completely backwards, especially for British Columbia, because we have a vested industry here that is getting shut out of this new marketplace,” said Smith. “Right now, somebody comes here from somewhere else to check out B.C. bud because we are so famous for it. Well, not only do we sell them the only legal products, which are from anywhere in Canada, they are not B.C. specific at all, but then we kick them to the curb to smoke it.”
Smith said the model isn’t conducive to a good economy and that B.C. should be building cannabis tourism.
“These large corporate industries are not only taking over the selling of it, but we don’t have the opportunity, even if you did get a micro-growing licence, to sell what they call ‘farm gate’ like the wine industry,” said Smith. “We should be able to go around the Cowichan Valley and visit local grow ops, where they’ve got a little place we can buy some food and a drink and smoke some herb right there.”
The crowd whistled and shouted in agreement.
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