Thousands spark up for 4/20

The 24th annual 4/20 rally on Vancouver's Sunset Beach drew a crowd long before pot smokers were expected to light up at 4:20 p.m.

Vendors started setting up their stalls early Friday near the beach, selling marijuana, baked edibles, vaporizers, and glassware under the watchful eyes of Vancouver police officers, the fire department, paramedics and security services.

Cannabis activist Jodie Emery says the people in attendance have every right to the day-long smoke-in, as long as marijuana users are still being arrested and discriminated against, regardless of the Cannabis Act legislation currently before Parliament.

Vendor Jay Anthony, the co-founder of online marijuana dispensary topleaf.ca, says while celebrations like 4/20 Vancouver allow the pot community to gather and discuss legalization and other issues, they have a responsibility to ensure that minors are not being sold products.

Anthony says that while he was concerned about vendors selling cannabis products to people under 19, he feels this is the marijuana community's opportunity to shine and show they can handle the responsibility of their trade.

Organizers of the protest laid down a turf cover at a cost of $20,000 to protect the park after last year's protest turned the grass into a muddy mess and cost the park board several thousands to replace.

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