Once regarded as a protest, the annual 4-20 event is now regarded as a celebration by many participants.
On Saturday, Edmonton held its first 4-20 since marijuana was legalized in Canada.
But legalization appears to have affected attendance. Last year, the Alberta legislature grounds were filled with cannabis supporters, while the number was noticeably smaller Saturday, with a few dozen attending the event.
Attendees said this year’s event was more of a celebration than a protest compared to years past.
“This is pretty good. The cops keep to themselves, we keep to ourselves,” Miguel Ings said.
“I consider it a plant and a medicine,” Alexandria McMurray said. “I use it for its medicinal purposes. I’m coming to celebrate the fact that we’ve finally made it legal. We finally got to our goal.”
Ryane Sanders with the Canadian Cannabis Society agrees that Saturday’s event was a celebration but believes more needs to be done for the acceptance of marijuana in Canada.
“By no means do we think this is the end. I think 4-20 will continue for many years to come until we get what we want, and that’s total free access,” Sanders said.
One of the primary issues in Edmonton and across the country since legalization has been a supply shortage. Last November, a national shortage prompted Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis to stop issuing retail cannabis licences.
The organization said at the time that a national pot shortage meant producers were delivering just 20 per cent of the cannabis that they had agreed to supply.
“There’s not enough different strains, and it’s really expensive,” said Madison Riddle, who attended Edmonton’s 4-20 event.
This week, AGLC sent notices to prospective retailers that slight increases in available inventory have allowed the regulator to issue 26 new retail licences across Alberta, which is a piece of good news for retailers and users.