“Vancouver are you high?” Is not something you usually hear at an outdoor concert downtown. In this crowd, however, it was accepted with voracious applause. Today’s Daily Joint was a pretty freaking fantastic one. The collective plume of Cannabis smoke hovering away from Sunset Beach was breathtaking to witness.
Today finally came, along with it the most significant stoner holiday of the year. This counterculture protest has been operating as incredibly large, well-organized, and responsible group of Cannabis supporters. Everything I saw indicated a smoothly run operation, from a surplus of outhouses to garbage cans and protective fencing around the vegetation. Vendors were checking IDs and ensuring no minors got their hands on the products.
The crowd was peaceful, even joyous, representing people of all ages and backgrounds. There were people decked out in Cannabis apparel along with other colourful and creative costumes. According to the Vancouver Police Department, there were roughly 40 000 people and 482 vendor tents this year.
The number of wheelchairs, walking aids, and other hints of medical issues made the medicinal topic very apparent. I was pleased to see how accessible this event was, with people of all shapes, sizes, and level of physical functioning attending to enjoy the event and to support Cannabis. There were plenty of people selling non-THC filled munchies and drinks to keep people sated. I heard one woman say “I don’t know why I was scared to come down all these years” – a sentiment I share myself.
I felt some anxiety walking towards this event, seeing the police presence standing nearby. Like many others, I have this ingrained protective reflex around Cannabis. It has always been something smoked in alleys and side-streets, away from the crowds and the events. I had my Daily Joint in a crowd with thousands of others there for the same reason; to enjoy and celebrate Cannabis and peacefully protest against prohibition.
I saw fantastic marketing, branding, and creative advertising from vendors throughout the festival. The professionalism standards and production level have increased in scope and breadth. That said, there were plenty of smaller booths selling mom-and-pop’s exceptional products. From artisan products, clothing, plants, and accessories, there was plenty of shopping available. Regarding Cannabis edibles and other infused consumables, I saw everything from brownies and other baked products, to gummies, lollipops, and even macaroons.
Cannabis products were even more varied that I would have thought. From flower, shatter, distillate to little baby plants themselves. It was hard not to buy some of these cute little Cannabis plants, but cultivation of recreational Cannabis plants is illegal. For now. Strains had details regarding THC and CBD composition, helping people make informed decisions.
There was some great music playing, with speakers interspersed between. Speakers discussed the principles behind this year’s protests. There was plenty of sentiment towards the current legalization process falling short in many respects. I won’t get into these details here but hope to at a later point.
I hope everyone had a wonderful 420 this year! I know I felt part of something bigger, a transformational shift. Sadly, damage from this year’s event has led to a closure of Sunset park field for up to 10 weeks for rehabilitation. The move to the beach was a logical one for many reasons. That said, I hope in future years we resolve this issue and do better to help protect Vancouver’s parks and beaches. Reducing potential targets for criticism will help the main messages be the focal point of future protests. Thanks for reading my second Daily Joint ever.