4/20: Vancouver

A few weeks late, but I figured it could make for an interesting read!

Vancouver itself has a unique take on Marijuana and the laws that surround it.  On the federal level, the drug itself is illegal, whereas locally, it takes more of a decriminalized state.  Arrests and charges are often laid upon those caught trafficking, particularly in and from the United States.  To make matters complicated, the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) have made it a priority to focus on more violent crime, or more illicit drugs and often turn a blind eye to the group of stoned teenagers or a otherwise "good" citizen lighting one up.  Because of this, medicinal dispensaries have been popping up all throughout Vancouver, and now surpass the number of Tim Hortons (an icon of Canadian culture, for all of you outside the country) in the city.  

I decided for myself that I would make the trip downtown and integrate myself into the "stoner" community and mindset, and see what the yearly "protest" was all about.  It was crazy to see not only marijuana and THC (the main psychoactive ingredient) being sold in its variety of forms (edibles, tinctures, joints, blunts, drinks, concentrate) but also a variety of psychedelics including acid blotters, magic mushrooms and ayahuasca.  My main concern of the event is perhaps the lack of constant cleanup, an issue that has been noted by the City in previous years.  But overall, the sense of calm and community was astounding to see.  By the end of the day, estimates said that approximately 20,000 people had shown up.

I won't get too political in this blog (it is a photo blog, after all) but I've previously had doubts about burnouts in high school, and that marijuana in itself can make a society lazy.  Obviously, like any stereotype, some of it holds true but through my observation and social networks is that the majority of users are normal people that partake in it like they do alcohol.  They're people across all demographics with varying educations, family backgrounds and so forth.  Studies across have proven that marijuana is less harmful than most drugs out there, and I believe that with the right regulation and legislation, the stigma attached behind the drug will eventually ease with time.  Everything in moderation!

Below is a glimpse of the day downtown: