In the motion proposed by councilor Sarah Kirby-Young, one of the other reasons cited for moving the event away from Sunset Beach is damage. In 2018, the Park Board closed down the grassy area next to the beach for a few weeks due to damage allegedly occurred during the 420 rally.
Other reasons for moving the event cited in the motion include “impact on air quality, noise (and) vandalism.”
However, 420 organizer, Dana Larsen, disagreed with these reasons when he told BCIT News Monday that moving the event from the Art Gallery to Sunset Beach reduced traffic problems, reduced disruptions and increased public safety. Larsen said the beach is used for many other large events and it’s the only viable option for an event of this size or scope. Larsen believes it has more to do with stigma than anything else.
“The city, whose councilors and politicians keep saying that we need to de-stigmatize drug use and that we need to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing drug users…but, get those dirty pot smokers out of our parks, they not allowed to use any of our parks ever. To me, that is incredibly hypocritical and one of the many reasons why 420 is still needed as a protest.” – Dana Larsen, 420 organizer
However, Barker said the reason for pushback is much more simple.
“We don’t allow smoking in parks. That is the bottom line.” – Tricia Barker, Park Board commissioner
The vote takes place Tuesday at Vancouver City Hall.