Rain dampens turnout at Victoria Park 4/20 rally

A man smokes a joint during a 4/20 rally at Victoria Park, on April 20, 2017. AM980

A bleak and wet forecast didn’t douse the spirits of roughly three dozen people who gathered Thursday afternoon at Victoria Park to light up for a 4/20 rally, in celebration of all things cannabis.

While the weather may have played a factor in the low turnout, organizer Eric Shepperd said it might also have something to do with the ambiguity regarding new marijuana legislation tabled in the House of Commons last week.

“It’s not quite legal yet. It’s not entirely safe from prosecution. There are a few police officers around the park, though they’re not here, so some people may have stayed away for that reason.”

READ MORE: London’s top cop says pot is still illegal, ahead of Thursday’s 4/20 rally

April 20 is traditionally associated with celebration of cannabis culture, and Shepperd says the demonstration’s goal is to normalize the act of getting high on marijuana.

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“To get people to see that it’s not just a bunch of dirty hippies that are involved. That normal people actually use cannabis as well. For medical reasons, for recreational reasons, for spiritual reasons. There are people of all walks of life that use this drug.”

READ MORE: London lawyer says it’s ‘high time’ marijuana was legalized

As for how the legislation is being rolled out, Shepperd says it’s somewhat of a cause for celebration — but it’s not perfect.

“With so much in the hands of the province in terms of regulating the industry, there is danger that they may add restrictions that will make it difficult for third parties, for entrepreneurs, to be involved in the cannabis industry.”

Shepperd said he’s been hearing from medical users who are worried the new rules will diminish the quality of the product they use, and make it harder to access.

READ MORE: Marijuana dispensaries reopening doors in London

While the federal government has outlined a broad array of regulations including how old you’ll have to be to use the drug, and how many plants can be grown inside a home, it’s up to individual provinces, territories, and municipalities to tailor rules for their own jurisdictions about licensing, distribution, and retail sales.

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London is waiting on word from the province before creating its own marijuana-related rules.

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