The PNE’s board of directors was scheduled to meet with the public Monday night to hear their thoughts about a proposal to allow Vancouver’s annual 4/20 marijuana smoke-in to take place at the fairgrounds. (Katya Slepian/Black Press)

PNE says no to Vancouver’s 4/20 gathering

Public consultation held on Monday about relocating from Sunset Beach

The PNE fairgrounds will not host Vancouver’s annual 4/20 gathering next year.

The board of directors met with the public Monday night to talk about a proposal to allow the city’s annual marijuana smoke-in to take place on their grounds.

After the meeting, the PNE tweeted that their board passed a motion saying their fairgrounds will not serve as the site for relocation of 4/20.

A spokesperson for the fair had told Black Press Media that staff were not interested for several reasons, chief of which is the requirement for securing insurance.

“Taking a neighbourhood issue from one part of our city and relocating that to another is something that needs to be openly talked about before anybody continues down the path,” said Laura Ballance.

“The PNE is currently a non-smoking site,” she added, “with the exception of small outdoor designated smoking areas that meet all work safe and city requirements.”

This year’s 4/20 event is set to go ahead at Vancouver’s Sunset Beach, according to organizer and pot advocate Dana Larsen, despite protests from the park board.

Larsen said he met with city officials including park board staff, police, and sanitation last month.

READ MORE: Victoria seniors want to know more about marijuana

In previous years, the smoke-up has received criticism for being held at Sunset Beach in part because of the damage to the park and beach. For more than 20 years, potheads and legalization advocates alike would swarm the space in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery, sending clouds of pot smoke into the air, but organizers were asked to find a better venue and relocated to the beach in 2016.

Larsen said park board staff have since pressured them to find a new home and proposed the PNE as a possible location.

Ballance said organizers must meet a set of criteria to be eligible for hosting, such as availability and liability insurance.

Four different events were already scheduled for the site, some of which will be attended by children. More than 15,000 guests of all ages are expected to show up.

Every organizer must also secure third-party comprehensive general liability insurance before the event is considered. Ballance said it would be a challenge for 4/20 to meet this criteria because event space is given to non-licensed cannabis vendors.

The park board released a statement last month, saying its goal is to relocate the event from Sunset Beach by 2020.



joti.grewal@bpdigital.ca

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