4/20: Live Coverage of the 2019 Cannabis Holiday in CanadaLeafly Canada StaffApril 19, 2019
That’s it for us, everybody. Thanks for joining us for Canada’s first legal 4/20! If you’re just arriving, take some time to scroll through the day’s coverage to check out all the highlights. Be safe and enjoy yourselves.
— Leafly Canada Staff
Montrealers Commemorate Canada’s First Legal 4/20 With Flash Tattoos
MONTREAL, QC – Upstairs at 328 Ste-Catherine East used to be Montreal’s most hilariously named strip club, la Calèche du Sexe [the Horse-Drawn Carriage of Sex], but for some time now it has been DFA Tattoos, where on occasion, they’ll host flash days offering reduced prices on pre-designed traditional-style tattoos picked from a sheet.
“It’s fun to have a flash day,” said tattooer Elisia Lee of DFA’s first 42–themed flash day. “We’ve done different occasions. I try to organize flash days for holidays throughout the year, and 420 was a fun idea.”
4/20 Flash from FDA
The day went well overall, with the majority of the sales clocking in before four o’clock. By the end of the evening only two people were getting flash tattoos—students Alexia and Tristan, who each got patch of shrooms by DFA co-owner Angus Byers. Though they both said they liked to smoke cannabis, they hadn’t really planned to come down just because it was 420.
“We saw his flash last week and really liked it,” Alexia said. “We wanted to get his mushrooms.”
The idea for 420 flash day was Lee’s, and it came naturally to her.
“I smoke a lot of weed,” Lee said.
Asked how legalization has affected her, Lee shrugged and said, “Not at all?” before remembering that her landlord had just sent her notification that he was banning cannabis (a right landlords gained as of Oct. 17 under Bill 2, the Cannabis Regulation Act). She shrugged and said, “I guess it’s affected me negatively!”
– Jesse B. Staniforth
Organizers Hand Out 12 Lbs of Weed at 420 Vancouver
VANCOUVER, BC – Despite the sunny blustery spring day Vancouver’s 4/20 celebrations hang under a haze of cannabis smoke.
The event, hailed as a protest and a celebration, drew around 40,000 spectators—maybe up to 100,000 people throughout the whole day, estimated organizer Dana Larsen.
The event gives off a farmers’ market vibe with around 350 official booths and another 50 unofficial ones sprawling across the picturesque Sunset Beach Park
Couples stroll with their dogs browsing home-baked goods and small spring plants while bands entertain an upbeat and friendly crowd.
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Despite reports on tension between 4/20 organizers and the City of Vancouver the event has been running smoothly and without incident, organizer Jodi Emery told Leafly.
“It’s just a partisan political battle,” she said. “Everyone works with us, it’s just the Parks Board [and the conservative municipal government] saying ‘we’re never going to let you smoke pot in parks.”
The celebration of cannabis remains a “protestable,” where crowds can celebrate while protesting the stigmatization or cannabis growers and users, said Larsen.
“People think cannabis is legal… but the reality on the ground there’s more restrictions and limitations than ever before,” said Emery. “Medical patients are losing access, prices are going up, no one can get a licence to sell anymore. It’s just cops, politicians and governments making a lot of money. When we said ‘legalize it’ for all these decades it was about legalizing the massive cannabis culture and community that existed—not to replace it with a corporate war zone and crackdowns of the new prohibition.”
Organizers handed out 12 lbs of cannabis in pre-rolled joints to the crowd and encouraged everyone to spark their spliffs and pass them around at 4:20, just before Cypress Hill took to the stage.
– Michelle Gamage
Did Someone Order Pizza, Vancouver?
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You know your at 420 when…… #vancouver420 #420vancouver2019 #freetheweed #munchies #sunsetbeach
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VANCOUVER, BC – No one does 4/20 like Vancouver. The marquee event at Sunset Beach attracted thousands of cannabis enthusiasts this afternoon. And now, a fat stack of pizzas has arrived at festivities just in advance of the big 4:20 smoke-out.
4/20 Miracles at the Tam-Tams on Mont-Royal
MONTREAL, QC – “I didn’t have any weed, and my friend called me up and said, ‘Let’s go to the mountain,’” said a student named Nabila, who declined to give her last name. “And everybody gave us weed! I’m really stoned now. It’s a 420 miracle!”
That was, in a nutshell, the atmosphere at 4:20 p.m. at the base of the George Étienne Cartier statue at the foot of Mount-Royal, in the centre of Montreal. Already, cannabis fanciers (and bongo players) crowd the statue every Sunday throughout the summer for Montreal’s decades-old cannabis-and-percussion celebration known as the Tam-Tams.
Any Sunday of the summer, the Tam-Tams reliably attract a crowd of cannabis enthusiasts who generate a cloud of weed fumes that can sometimes be smelled blocks away. The same is true of 4/20 on the mountain—only the crowd, and the cloud, are even bigger.
The weather was no impediment, either. Despite 5-degree temperatures (and a 1-degree windchill), the crowd was happy and friendly.
–Jesse B. Staniforth
Breaking Habits at TIFF
TORONTO, ON — 4/20 occurring just after Canada marks six months of legalization isn’t just cause to celebrate but also reflect on how far we’ve come.
In Toronto, the TIFF Bell Lightbox screening of Breaking Habits today served as an excellent reminder that the path to end cannabis prohibition isn’t easy… or over for everyone.
More than 500,000 Canadians are affected by lingering stigma of possession records, despite the strides we’ve made as a country through legalization.Jonathan Zaid, Director of Advocacy and Corporate Social Responsibility at Aurora Cannabis Inc.
The documentary debut follows the story of the Sisters of the Valley, a California-based medical cannabis company comprised of “weed nun” activists on a mission to distribute products to those in need while navigating a landscape fraught with perils including state authorities and local black-marketeers.
While Canadians enjoy the day, Jonathan Zaid, Director of Advocacy and Corporate Social Responsibility at Aurora Cannabis Inc., took the opportunity to discuss the Campaign for Cannabis Amnesty and recognize the legacy and efforts of the cannabis advocates that came before us and those who continue to be harmed post-legalization.
“Aurora remains committed to supporting those who are impacted by the historical injustices of prohibition. More than 500,000 Canadians are affected by lingering stigma of possession records, despite the strides we’ve made as a country through legalization. We’ll continue to stand alongside these Canadians, and continue to call for record expungement.”
Edibles Purveyors Chomping at the Bit to Partake in 4/20 Festivities
MONTREAL, QC – With 4:20 approaching, business was relatively quiet at Café Chronique 4:20, which three weeks ago opened on Rue St-Denis in Montreal’s Plateau neighbourhood. In honour of the occasion, the espresso shop and bakery was offering free (non-infused) brownies with any drink order.
Proprietors James and Jessie, who declined to give their last names, said for now they’re selling espresso drinks and pastries, but they’re waiting eagerly for edibles legalization in the fall.
“We’ve had a few customers,” said James, a trained radiology tech who previously launched a cleaning business. He was hoping that after 4:20, those who’d been indulging in festivities—such as the main event at the foot of Mount-Royal—might be feeling peckish.
“Come next year and I’ll tell you whether I was right!” he laughed. But seriously, he said, “The next year will be bigger and better.”
The next year will also be the test of whether Café Chronique 4:20 gets to its feet, but between now and then, James and Jessie are waiting for new edibles legislation and regulations to come into force. “We’re going do everything we can to get a permit, for sure,” he said.
–Jesse B. Staniforth
4/20 Saskatchewan Soaks up the Sun
SASKATOON, SK – The Pot Shack in the prairie province enjoys bonafide t-shirt weather today. Celebrations including live music and BBQ are on from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. CST.
Smoke Signals Kanehsatake Tokes to 1 Year in Business
KANEHSATKE, QC – “I see smiles everyday, and I get to help people,” said Clifton Nicholas, co-proprietor (along with his partner Maria Canatonquin) of the Smoke Signals dispensary in Kanehsatake Mohawk territory, roughly an hour outside of Montreal.
For Nicholas and Smoke Signals, 4/20 does double duty. It’s obviously the year’s biggest cannabis holiday, but this year represents the first anniversary since the former filmmaker (and anthropologist by training) opened his dispensary in his home community, and many parts of this past year have been a battle.
Initially, 4/20 was a day of resistance. It was always meant to push the powers that be to bring legislation to end what never should have been illegal in the first place.Clifton Nicholas, Smoke Signals
Nicholas’s dispensary was opposed by the community’s elected Grand Chief Serge Simon, whose Council has not yet tabled its own cannabis legislation. However, because of the political complexity of Kanehsatake, which no longer has its own police force, if Simon wanted to shut down dispensaries like Nicholas’s, he’d have to call in the provincial police force la Sûreté du Québec.
Not every Canadian knows the name Kanehsatake, but most remember the Oka crisis—the 1990 period of civil unrest during which Kanehsatake’s Mohawk Warriors’ Society waged armed warfare against first the Sûreté du Québec, killing one, and later the Canadian Army, after a golf course in the neighbouring non-Native community of Oka attempted to expand into an area the Mohawks of Kahnawake consider sacred. After a six-week siege of the community (during which an Elder died), negotiators from both sides were able to end the crisis without further deaths. But the Kanehsatake/Oka crisis is a longstanding injury, and left many people in Kanehsatake committed to defending their sovereignty by any means necessary.
“Initially, 4/20 was a day of resistance,” Nicholas said. “It was always meant to push the powers that be to bring legislation to end what never should have been illegal in the first place. So it’s important to me, given the problems we’ve seen in the past with heavy-handed policing. Indigenous people have suffered a lot, and it’s time for us to benefit.”
Cannabis, for Nicholas, is a huge part of that benefit. He’s a recovering opiate and cocaine user and credits cannabis with helping him leave those drugs behind. He also says it helped him lose 150 pounds and curb his diabetes. That’s to say nothing of the effect it’s had on his depression, which he says finally lessened when he turned to medical cannabis.
“This is an industry Indigenous people need—economically, medically, and spiritually,” Nicholas said, Yet we’re being shut out of it, even as cannabis can help our people struggling with addictions.”
Smoke Signals has been doing a tidy business for a year now, ushering in with it a number of other dispensaries in the territory. Naturally, Clifton sees the competition as an opportunity to level up.
Nicholas and Canatonquin’s try-anything spirit permeated the event. On one side of the dispensary’s wide yard, there was a smoking-lounge tent with free tacos, a resin press for anyone who wanted to turn dried flower into something more potent, and a stage for a band. Across the parking lot, another tent offered a mechanical bull and a few other fairground challenges. Nicholas announced that anyone who could stay on the bull for regulation eight seconds could take a way an ounce of bud, and in short order, two well-balanced young men happily collected their prize from the dispensary.
–Jesse B. Staniforth
Soggy Celebrations in Toronto
TORONTO, ON – Rain might have dampened celebrations but Toronto crowds still turned out in high spirits.
At Woodbine Park, the wet weather created swampy conditions for the vendors’ market featuring black market distributors hawking their wares—everything from bulk bud to infused treats.
In Kensington Market, at the HotBox Shop & Lounge celebrations took place under tents on the backyard patio that has newly been approved by city inspectors to operate as a legal cannabis consumption space—on the condition that they don’t serve food.
Happy 4:20 From The Hill
OTTAWA, ON — On Parliament Hill, the official 420 event was as much a protest as it was a party.
During a press conference on Thursday morning, the organizers made clear there are still issues the federal Liberals have left hanging, making the job of legalization incomplete.
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The Marijuana Party of Canada says the Liberals need to expunge past convictions for simple possession, instead of suspending records, and issue a formal apology for the harms prohibition had particularly on black communities.
There are also concerns being raised about the government’s decision to tax medical cannabis.
With files from The Canadian Press
Cops Are Looking for Stoned Drivers. Don’t Be One
End this happy holiday in bed, not jail. Find yourself a designated driver or take advantage of the many 4/20 deals offered by rideshare companies.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are using the holiday to remind drivers of the dangers of driving high and Canadians should expect mounting DUI emphasis patrols on 4/20, because 4/20 isn’t exactly a secret anymore.
When transporting #cannabis in a vehicle, it must be in its original package that has not been opened, or packed in baggage that is fastened closed or is not otherwise available to anyone in the vehicle. #StaySharp – Know the Facts on #420Day #DontDriveHigh pic.twitter.com/jlaIqKCnvL
— Ontario Prov Police (@OPP_News) April 20, 2019
While it’s clear that it’s illegal, across Canada, to consume cannabis while you’re driving, or to drive under the influence of cannabis—the rules for safely–and legally–transporting cannabis in a vehicle may vary by jurisdiction.
The safest bet: if you are transporting cannabis, keep it in the trunk of your car where it is definitely out of reach of the driver or any passenger.
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You know the cannabis holiday is on its way to mainstream acceptance when corporate Canada starts stoking the flames.
Popular chain Pizza Pizza, for one, is marking the occasion with a $4.20 walk-in deal all day. It might seem a little opportunistic, but hey, the munchies are real.
A Super Saturday at Superette
Staff at Ottawa's newly opened Superette are ready to celebrate!
Whether picking up supplies or looking to score a sweet deal on a new bong, Canada’s new crop of retailers are marking the day with sales on strains, prerolls, accessories, and more! Leafly’s put together a list of online retailers offering special sales in honour of the holiday.
4/20 has proved a popular day for cannabis store openings across the country.
And, a few provinces over, Prairie Records launches two new outposts (on Broadway and in Stonebridge) and, Vancouver-based cannabis brand and purveyor of streetwear apparel, Burb launches it’s first flagship location in Port Coquitlam.
Where to Celebrate 4/20
How will you be commemorating Canada’s first 4/20 post-prohibition? From block parties and concerts to comedy festivals and green yoga, there’s no shortage of festivities taking place today. We’ve compiled some of the biggest events happening across the country.
The True Origin of 4/20 (and Other Good Stuff)
No, “420” is not police code for cannabis consumption. And unless you know about the treasure map, there’s more to that origin story you’ve likely heard than “let’s meet at 4:20 to blaze it.” The truth is that it all started with a Coast Guard sailor, a secret map, and some students in California known as the Waldos. Explore the epic tale as reported by Leafly contributor David Bienenstock, one of California’s most seasoned cannabis reporters.
But wait, there’s more! Act now, or whenever, and we’ll throw in a chronic chronology of great moments in 4/20 history. It includes winners like this guy, who probably deserves a toast today.
It’s the Perfect Day to Learn to Roll a Joint
The first time I ever tried to roll a joint, it was 4/20. I wrapped the paper around a pencil, sealed it, then stuffed in some flower. I went outside with a friend, sparked it, and proceeded to watch the thing canoe so badly that I brought most of the unburnt cannabis back home in the palm of my hand.
Don’t be like me back then. Find a friend, grab your supplies, and get crafting. Practice makes perfect. (Don’t forget the crutch!)
— Ben Adlin
Edibles Are Great—at the Right Amount
If you’re new to edibles, the best advice is to start low and go slow. Don’t rush to gobble down that brownie, no matter how delicious. This handy chart is a great resource for avoiding an unpleasant experience. Read the full story for more advice on how to find the right edible for you.
How to Be a True Pal to Your Too-High Friend
Whether someone’s new to cannabis or just couldn’t resist another infused chocolate, it’s certainly possible to cross the line from high into too high. There’s no shame in that. But if you or a friend aren’t enjoying your 4/20 experience, that’s a problem. We’re here to help.
Looking for more tips and tricks? Head over to the full article.