Early Tuesday morning, the Vancouver Park Board issued a statement on the 420 Vancouver event at Sunset Beach Park- they don’t approve and much like previous years, they have refused organizer’s request for a permit.
The city cites violations of its no-smoking policies and “negative consequences for park users and infrastructure” as their reasons for not issuing a permit.
Event organizers invest $30k to protect grass
One of the negative consequences from last year was damage to the grass at Sunset Beach that caused the fields around it to be temporarily closed. This was because the grass was already wet and muddy from rain before the event, and then 40,000 people showed up for 420.
This year, organizers are praying for good weather while also investing $30,000 in Duradeck to protect the grass that was affected last year.
Strange things in the park board’s bill for last year’s 420
First, under Lost Revenue, the park board is charging $5,334 for the permit fee which it refused to issue. As Dana says, “They refuse to give us a permit, then send us a bill for the lost revenue from the permit fee? Is it just me, or is that a bit strange?”
He also says that the Lost Revenue for the concession stand was based off the park board’s decision to close it, and that it was even against the wishes of the people who work the concession stand because they wanted to stay open so they could make a killing selling munchies to the 420 crowd.
The heaviest charge is saved for last- the park board wants $32,126 for staff wages. Dana explains below:
Then the big one, they include $32,126 in “non incremental” costs of staff wages. This means any time staff spent talking to us about 4/20 they want to bill us for. This is not overtime, this is @ParkBoard staff doing their normal job. 4/X
Park Board: Cannabis events prohibited but alcohol ok
Much like how the Park Board can issue special occasion permits that allow alcohol sales, the park board could issue permits for cannabis use in parks, but so far, it has refused.
Perhaps the board justifies this with alcohol being legal while cannabis is not (yet), so we will have to wait for next year’s event to see if legalization has any bearing on the board’s decision, but with the board’s anti-cannabis history, don’t expect much.
Last year, it wasn’t enough for the park board to refuse the 420 event a permit- on top of that, the park board then “proceeded to ban all future marijuana-related events from applying for permits on any Vancouver park board properties,” as Dana Larsen told the Georgia Straight at the time.
Prominent cannabis lawyer Kirk Tousaw pointed out the board’s hypocrisy on Twitter:
Important thread. Treating safe, non-violent, no deaths/fights/vomiting/public-urinating cannabis events as second class citizens to boozefests is absurd policy and prehistoric thinking. Time to vote out the @ParkBoard members that prefer antipathy to cooperation. https://t.co/ZRsUMGQ7WA
— KirkTousaw (@KirkTousaw) April 17, 2018
But, the park board is elected
As noted in the Park Board’s statement, it is elected- so if you don’t agree with the position that the current park board, make sure to get out and vote in Vancouver’s municipal elections coming up this fall.
Let’s take a look at the park board and how they voted when the Vancouver park board denied 420 organizers a permit last year.
It was a 4-3 vote.
All 3 NPA Vancouver commissioners voted against the permit. They are: John Coupar, Casey Crawford, and Sarah Kirby-Yung. Board chairman Stuart Mackinnon also voted against permitting 420.
Commissioners Catherine Evans, Erin Shum, and Michael Wiebe voted in favour.
In a somewhat petty move, it appears that chairman Stuart Mackinnon has gone as far as blocking 420 Vancouver organizer Dana Larsen on Twitter while refusing to meet or speak with 420 Vancouver organizers.
Still makes me sad that @ParkBoard Commissioner Stuart Mackinnon @betterparks has blocked me. He’s refused to take a single meeting with us, they didn’t even let us speak to the board at all before pointlessly voting to ban us last year. pic.twitter.com/WzqFNlHhB5
— Dana Larsen (@DanaLarsen) April 17, 2018
It’s too bad that instead of working with organizers, it seems the park board would rather ignore them and hope 420 goes away.