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Massive 'unsanctioned' Vancouver 420 events taking place, Park Board protecting its 'assets'

Organizers "failed to meet the special events permitting terms and conditions" for the large-scale gathering at Sunset Beach
A massive 4/20 Vancouver event that has not been given the green light has kicked off at Sunset Beach.

What was once one of the world's longest-standing annual protests in support of cannabis legalization has transitioned into a different type of public demonstration in Vancouver.

Despite Canada's legalization of marijuana in 2018,  the city's 4/20 gatherings continue to draw thousands of marijuana enthusiasts from across the Lower Mainland. Many attendees are calling for fewer restrictions on the popular plant while others simply attend to have a good time. 

This year, groups have planned two separate "unsanctioned" 4/20 events in the city. One of them is the 4/20 Vancouver event at Sunset Beach, which is run by World Cannabis and hosted by Bryan Jones. The celebration kicked off around noon and the organizers plan to continue demonstrations until 10 p.m.

The event listing notes that the volunteer-run event typically sees thousands of attendees and has had around 500 vendors in past years. There will also be a range of live music and performances. 

A spokesperson for the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation told V.I.A. that it is aware of a "planned cannabis protest" at Sunset Beach and it has not permitted it to move forward.

The Park Board said the organizers have "failed to meet the special events permitting terms and conditions, including but not limited to: liability insurance, permit fees, adequate ground protection and safety/traffic management plans."

While the event hasn't received the green light, the Park Board will respect the group's right to protest while it ensures public safety and protects "park assets" and minimizes impacts to the adjacent neighbourhood.

Park Board plans to protect its assets during the 4/20 event in Vancouver 

The Park Board has erected fencing around trees to protect them during the event but says it is concerned about turf damage from the large-scale gathering. It has also added additional garbage and recycling totes. 

Following the event, the Park Board will conduct a "detailed site assessment" to determine any remediation costs.

Another 4/20 Vancouver event is also expected to kick off at noon in Thorton Park but the Park Board says it has not had any contact with its organizers and "cannot confirm any unsanctioned event details."

Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Const. Tania Visintin says the VPD is working with the City of Vancouver and the Parks Board to ensure safety and mitigate disruptions caused by 4/20 gatherings.

"This is one of 800-plus protests and marches that are likely to happen in Vancouver this year, and while it has drawn large crowds in the past there’s rarely any violence associated with it," she told V.I.A.

"We expect to have extra resources assigned, as we would with any significant protests or gathering."