4/20, a Day of Celebration, a Day of Communication, a Day of Rebellion

Vancouver BC has been ground zero for the celebration of 4/20 day for the past 18 years. Again this afternoon thousands of folks from every walk of life will descend on the Vancouver Art Gallery at West Georgia & Howe Streets [map and info here] between 10 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. to smoke the free weed, to enjoy the entertainment and check out the always interesting Cannabis Farmers Market. Then, at 4:20 PM Vancouver's potheads will join a long list of fellow potheads worldwide in a huge SMOKE OUT.

Having been a pothead myself for nearly.50 years means i can testify that among the reasons pot smoking is so popular, beyond the obvious euphoric effects, is that for at least the last half century it has become a act of rebellion against the tyranny of the fearful status-quo, against the self-righteous dictates of the religious sheep, against government authority itself.

The history of 4/20 goes back to N. California's rebellious youth secretly meeting to smoke weed behind a fence after school. Weed smoking has long since come outta the closet and become broadly accepted by most folks. A recent poll here in BC by Stop the Violence BC and conducted by Angus Reid,  said 73 per cent of British Columbians responded favourably to conducting a research trial looking at the impacts of a government-sanctioned cannabis retail establishment for adult recreational cannabis users.

As Dana Larsen of Sensible BC, and attendee of all 18 on Vancouver's 4/20 celebrations, said in an email today, "I believe the way we regulate wine works well for marijuana. They're quite comparable. Like wine, marijuana users prefer to try different kinds," says Larsen. "The wine model where you can brew a limited amount of wine in your own house for your own use, and where there are both small-scale and large producers who produce wine, would work well for marijuana."

So why is pot still illegal in BC? Considering all the money our cash starved governments could and should be raking in from it, as they do the other 'sin taxes', and all the dough the province could save by not investigating, arresting and prosecuting cannabis cases it seems a no-brainer eh. But things aren't that simple, there are many other 'stakeholders' who's interests would be damaged by legalization. There's the booze industry who correctly see that pot would be a competitor in the buzz market, there's tobacco who less correctly feels the same. Both of those industries produce sizable govt. revenue through taxation and they have potent lobbies.

Actually lottsa people profit from prohibition. BC would need a lot less judges, lawyers and cops [as the police unions point out] if pot were legal. Then there's the big time growers, big dealers, gangsters, big business [like the banks that launder all the illegal dough] and the media who get to sell ads during their sensationalized coverage of the busts.

Then there's the political cost that politicians supporting legalization would pay the minute they truly endorsed the idea. Remember that millions of Canadians believe the route to their imaginary heaven goes through the unquestioned word of their bishops who stand up there every Sunday denouncing the 'evil weed' as the devil's tool. You'd think those very real political costs would be cancelled out by the votes of all the pot legalization supporters but they aren't really. First off potheads, being the anti-authority types they often are, don't vote nearly as often as the religiously brainwashed.

Finally, there's the realities that pot is already everywhere, legalization couldn't make it more available. That, despite the fear mongering headlines, 99% of gangster pot is an export product therefore of no danger to BC potheads. That high quality local pot is grown by small mom and pop operations who use the extra income on groceries, utility bills, mortgage payments, university for the kids, etc. BC's potheads have often known the folks who grew the pot they're smoking for decades, they are their friends and neighbors. Legalization would probably mean increased heat on the mom and pops from the government who'd soon want to eliminate the competition for their corporate buddies who'd get all the licences in a legalized environment.

Taking all this into consideration then adding in the fact that to actually legalize pot in BC would take agreement from the feds...there's not a snowball's chance in hell of real change in BC's pot laws anytime soon. So 4/20 is also a good day to start yours seeds in the widow and look forward to another year of enjoying your backyard's bounty.