An organization called World Cannabis says they want to revive the Vancouver 420 event at Sunset Beach following a three-year hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The event has been a mainstay of BC cannabis culture for years but has faced increased scrutiny from the city and park officials as it grew in size and became more commercial in nature.
Booths for vendors are routinely up for sale at the event, along with a large stage, with the public park attracting thousands of revellers for the annual smoke-out.
The last time it was held was in 2019 when the event was organized by longtime cannabis activist Dana Larsen. Larsen said he was not aware that another organization was taking the event on, and said he felt good leaving the event on a high note.
“After 25 years, and having Cypress Hill at the final protest, I don’t think that can be topped,” Larsen told StratCann. “That’s probably going to remain the largest cannabis protest that Vancouver has ever had, I think. I’m working on other projects and focussed on psychedelics, so my desire to organize a large cannabis protest is not something I want to do right now.”
The Park Board has in the past said they have “significant concerns” about the impact that tens of thousands of cannabis smokers have on the West End community, as well as the maintenance of the park itself.
A spokesperson for the City of Vancouver told the Daily Hive that city officials were unaware of the plans for the event this year.
“At this time, The Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation has not had contact with the event organizers and cannot confirm any unsanctioned event details,” Danielle Perras said.
Robert Moore, President of World Cannabis, shared emails showing communications between the organization and the Parks Board, discussing the event.
In a press release, the organizers say they are looking forward to re-launching the annual event.
“The past few years have been a test of resilience, but we have persevered,” said Brynn Jones of Kelowna, community director with World Cannabis Events. “Now it’s time to come together and make our voices heard, while also basking in the glory of Canadian cannabis culture.”
Larsen notes that, in the past, a group called World Cannabis had held protests at the Vancouver Art Gallery on 420, arguing that the event should be held there instead of Sunset Beach. In 2016, Moore was involved in a scuffle with other event organizers due to a dispute over location and event ownership.
Moore says they have been in talks with the City of Vancouver and the Parks Board and plan on making the event clean and respectful this year. After hosting past events at the Vancouver Art Gallery, he says the event has grown too large and needs the additional space of Sunset Beach.
“I think the community needs this event,” says Moore.
“We make sure we clean up all our garbage. All our events at the art gallery were left spotless. In fact, we are creating a day after 420 called 421, which is a garbage and clean-up day. It will be a beach clean-up day, so we can leave the beach cleaner than when we started. We want a good name for potheads.”
World Cannabis previously operated a website called WorldCannabis.net that now redirects to an unlicensed online dispensary called bearlylegalhemp.com. World Cannabis now lists its website as WorldCannabis.ca. Moore says the bearlylegal website is not affiliated with him or World Cannabis.
According to the website, this year’s Vancouver 420 event will start at noon on April 20 and run until 10 pm. Booths are listed from $200-$400 each.