FAQ

What is 4/20 Vancouver?

April 20th is internationally recognized as the cannabis culture’s national holiday, with massive rallies, festivals, protests, marches and other events in thousands of cities worldwide.

4/20 Vancouver is a celebration of the cannabis culture, and a protest against prohibition. 4/20 Vancouver is diverse, inclusive, and welcomes people from all across Canada and the world.

There are speakers, artists, politicians, musicians, performers, vendors, entrepreneurs, and community members of all kinds.

4/20 Vancouver is one of the oldest 4/20 gatherings in the world, beginning at Vancouver’s Victory Square in April 1995. The rally evolved into a bigger protest at the Vancouver Art Gallery in the centre of the city, before moving to the more spacious and accommodating Sunset Beach park in 2016.

Who organizes 4/20 Vancouver?

Since 1995, long-time local cannabis activists and advocates have been volunteering their time and contributing funds for hosting the rally.

As the event grew, costs for first aid, security, toilets and other necessities began to rise, so organizers collect donations from sponsors and vendors to cover the costs.

The 420 Vancouver Events Society was recently formed to operate the ever-growing event, and all funds raised from donations and sponsorships cover the costs required by city officials and other authorities.

Does 4/20 Vancouver pay for the costs of the event?

Every year, the increased popularity and successful management of 4/20 Vancouver means increased costs are requested by local government and health officials.

Every year, 4/20 Vancouver nonprofit society volunteer organizers raise more donations from sponsors and vendors to pay for the costs of the event.

Money is raised to pay for first aid, security, fencing, toilets, clean-up, ground coverings, radios, safety plans, ambulances, drinking water, and other necessary costs. 4/20 Vancouver also pays for the lost income of the Sunset Beach concession and the Aquatic Centre.

Unlike other large public gatherings such as Pride and the Celebration of Light Fireworks, 4/20 Vancouver does not receive any taxpayer subsidies under the “civic status” designation to cover the costs of the event.

4/20 Vancouver is self-funded, and does not cost taxpayers money in the same way that other large events do.

Does 4/20 Vancouver work with any official authorities?

Every year, volunteer organizers work hand-in-hand with the City of Vancouver, Park Board, Vancouver Police, Vancouver Fire and Rescue, Vancouver Coastal Health, Park Rangers, BC Ambulance, and other government officials to ensure the event is safe and successful.

Together, our teams coordinate the city’s most peaceful and professional mass gathering.

Does 4/20 Vancouver have a permit?

4/20 Vancouver applied for a permit, but the Park Board banned permitting the event, despite Park Board staff supporting the granting of a permit.

Regardless, every year, organizers receive the list of permitted activities given to other large public events, and follow and pay for the requirements involved.

4/20 Vancouver would be happy to be treated equally to other public events, and be granted permits, and taxpayer subsidies, and corporate sponsorships to pay for the costs. Until then, the gathering is still public peaceful civil disobedience, and therefore a legitimate protest.

Isn’t cannabis legalized? What is 4/20 Vancouver protesting?

According to lawyers and civil liberties advocates, cannabis criminalization and rights violations continue to exist under the “Cannabis Act” in Canada.

The Cannabis Act created 45 new criminal offences; devoted hundreds of millions of dollars in additional law enforcement spending, on top of the pre-existing half-billion dollars being spent; and introduced new costly, punitive measures on provincial and municipal levels.

People are still being arrested and sent to jail – ten months locked in a cell, for 86 grams of a flowers from a plant! – and losing their housing, children, job opportunities, travel rights, and more.

Medical cannabis patients do not have access to cannabis, and are seeing their medicine being sold by governments and corporations in a recreational market run by former police and politicians.

The ongoing discrimination and intolerance of cannabis and events like 4/20 demonstrates why there’s still a need for public cultural gatherings and educational opportunities. There’s a stigma attached to cannabis, and harm caused by the laws, so that is why we still protest.