Vancouver city council votes to look at possibility of suing 4/20 organizers for costs

A huge crowd gathered at Sunset Beach for 4/20. Global News

Vancouver city council has voted to look at the possibility of taking the organizers of the city’s annual 4/20 “protestival” to court to recover costs.

But the city won’t be moving forward with a proposed attempt to go after vendors, contractors and city business licence holders who participate in the event.

WATCH: Organizers, park board assess impact of controversial 4/20 event

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Organizers, park board assess impact of controversial 4/20 event – Apr 21, 2019

READ MORE: Should vendors, contractors, licence holders be on the hook for Vancouver 4/20 costs?

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The text of Non-Partisan Association (NPA) Coun. Melissa de Genova’s motion asks staff to “review options for legal action against ‘420 Vancouver Protest Festival & Farmer’s Market’ and/or the organizers, to recover costs for resources allocated by the City of Vancouver, the Park Board or any other civic agency and/or organization that receives funding from the City of Vancouver Operating Budget.”

The issue has been an annual hot potato, with the city and the Park Board upset at the event’s continual, un-permitted presence at Sunset Beach.

READ MORE: Vancouver Pride Society tells 4/20 organizers to face facts: it’s a festival, not a protest

Organizers say they provide more than $60,000 every year to offset costs, but insist they should not have to pay for policing costs because the event is a protest.

The 2018 iteration of the event cost the city more than $235,000.

Other aspects of Wednesday’s motion ask the city’s chief licence officer to look at compliance of city business licence holders that participate in unsanctioned events in the city, and to affirm the rights of protesters.

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