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Edmonton marijuana supporters celebrate 4-20 for first time since legalization

Click to play video '4-20 Post Legalization' 4-20 Post Legalization
WATCH ABOVE: It's been six months since cannabis was legalized, but has the novelty worn off? This year 4-20 attracted far fewer people to the Alberta Legislature than previous years. Sarah Kraus reports.

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.

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READ MORE: A look at Canada’s first 4-20 celebrations since legalization

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.

READ MORE: Vancouver police want you to talk to your kids about 4-20

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.”

Edmonton's 4-20 event on the Alberta legislature grounds, Saturday, April 20, 2019.
Edmonton's 4-20 event on the Alberta legislature grounds, Saturday, April 20, 2019. Sarah Kraus, Global News
Edmonton's 4-20 event on the Alberta legislature grounds, Saturday, April 20, 2019.
Edmonton's 4-20 event on the Alberta legislature grounds, Saturday, April 20, 2019. Sarah Kraus, Global News

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.

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“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.

READ MORE: Hempfest Cannabis Expo takes over downtown Edmonton venue

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.

READ MORE: Slight cannabis supply increase leads to 26 new Alberta retail licences

“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.