ORGANIZERS of this year’s 420 Vancouver festival have been informed by city officials to relocate the pro-legalization rally to the city’s Downtown Eastside.
420 Vancouver was originally expected to take place at Sunset beach, after organizers believed they had reached an agreement with city staff. However, the Vancouver Park Board immediately objected to this decision, insisting they had jurisdiction over any event held at a city park.
At the insistence of the Park Board, event organizers and city staff began sounding out alternative locations. Closing Burrard Bridge for the day was considered but organizers were fearful that an event there might entice Christy Clark to show up, something they deem “a nightmare scenario”.
The festival will largely centre around the busy intersection at Main and Hastings st but will stretch two blocks along East Hastings st. from Main to Carrall. VPD are warning motorists that “at least” 10 sq. blocks will be closed for the event, due to fears over secondhand smoke affecting drivers.
Last year the event attracted up to 30,000 people, which resulted in a sizable police presence outside the art gallery. This year, despite over 100,000 protesters expected to attend this year’s festivities on East Hastings, Vancouver Police say their involvment will be “scaled back considerably”. “We believe that our presence isn’t required this year and that we can allow attendees to self police. This is a philosophy that has worked in the Eastside for years, and we see no reason to change now.”
Mayor Robertson says the move “makes sense” and that the whole community can feel comfortable about the move. “Drugs belong in Vancouver’s Eastside so I think it’s a great solution for everyone.” The mayor says the event will also help boost the Eastside’s once thriving underground drug market, which has suffered in recent years due to the opening of several drug rehabilitation centre’s in the area.
Robertson even said that if the event proves successful, he would consider legalizing Marijuana, along the same two blocks of E. Hastings. “Hell I don’t even care if they stay there every day and get stoned as long as they stay in the Eastside. Eventually we could even bypass the area altogether to allow them extra space to protest.”
Meanwhile, Justin Trudeau is still expected to be the guest of honour at the event, where the Prime Minister will light a ceremonial 20ft joint at precisely 4:20pm, before taking the first toke and passing it to the left. “It’ll be great to see all the guys down on East Hastings,” he told FM News. “Since I became PM, I never get to hang out on the streets, smoking dope and selling scrap metal, but that’s the sacrifice you have to make in this job.”
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