Organizers of Calgary’s annual 4/20 rally called the event both a protest and a festival this year, as the group prepares for the eventual legalization of marijuana by the federal government later this year.
“We’re here in protest of the upcoming bylaws that the city’s put forth, but we do want to celebrate 4/20,” Gordon Hayes, vice-president of the Calgary Cannabis Club, said at Friday’s rally.
“A ‘protest-ival’ seems like a fitting title.”
Hayes said Calgary’s ban on using cannabis in public once it’s legalized is the restriction he takes most issue with. A number of signs at the event also had messages that were in protest of the new regulation.
“Obviously people are able to smoke cigarettes in public without any sort of major backlash and I think cannabis should be the same,” Hayes said.
The concerns from Hayes and others come days before the City of Calgary beings its retail cannabis store licensing process. On April 24, those who are looking to sell marijuana once it’s legalized can apply in person at city hall or on the web.
“Online, we’re offering a customer service position where people can apply for a development permit, a building permit and a business license all at the same time for a cannabis store if they’d like,” Brandy MacInnis, the city’s senior special projects officer, said Friday.
“If they come in person, there are forms online… where they can fill in those forms and apply in person.”
Jesse Bartlett is one prospective business person who plans on applying for a license. He’s the CEO of Calgary’s Herbal Relief Centre, which currently offers medical marijuana services.
“We’ve been working 25 hours a day on marketing, getting our standard operating procedures ready for legalization, working with the city, working with the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, working with investors,” Bartlett said.
“It’s been a wild ride.”