Vancouver’s annual 420 pot event is again sparking debate, this time over a plan to move the event to Sunset Beach.
Members of the Park Board are upset, and warn of damage and policing costs from an unlicensed event.
That has organizers on the defensive about how the event is managed – and whether it’s enabling youth to get high.
LISTEN: Guest host Drex and 420 organizer Jodie Emery clash on the issue of youth at 420
Organizer Jodie Emery denies the event has caused big problems in the past, and says 420 works with the city, police, fire, and paramedics to make sure things go smoothly.
“On the day of working hand in hand with them to make this a safe event for 50,000 taxpayers who show up to celebrate cannabis and protest prohibition.”
She insists 420 is still a protest, not an “event,” and that vendors raise up to $20,000 to help cover costs. As for the other $93,000 picked up by the city?
“We’re taxpayers. We pay for fireworks, we pay for Pride, we pay for everything that police do in our city. And the reports show over the years that the police don’t have any violence, they don’t have any issues, they walk through the crowd smiling and greeting all of the attendees.”
But what about youth at the event? Emery insists it’s not a problem – and that police would have reported it as one if it was.
Emery: “It’s not kids. We do not let kids buy pot… I’m telling you that as the organizers we let everyone know that minors are not to buy marijuana, ID is to be asked for for anyone that looks underage, and if anyone is caught selling pot to a minor, they are made to leave. We work with the police on the ground that day for the security of people.”
Drex: “Jodie you can’t go on the radio and say that teenagers aren’t buying weed at 420 – you know they are.”
Emery: “To my knowledge they’re not.”
That flies in the face of comments by her husband, pot activist Marc Emery, who was questioned in the past about whether its appropriate for youth to smoke pot at the event, to which he replied:
“Oh absolutely, I’ve probably smoked up with hundreds of them myself.”
Emery says the City of Vancouver suggested Sunset Beach as a venue, while the city insists it did not.