Cannabis Day Returns to the Vancouver Art Gallery

A year after police and advocates clashed outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Cannabis Day is returning this Friday.

Now in it’s 20th year, the 2015 Cannabis Day erupted into a battle between attendees and police, with authorities using pepper spray on the crowd and arresting four people.

Vancouver Police Department Media Relations Officer Brian Montague said officials have been working with and discussing the event with organizers.

“We have been explaining how the priority of the VPD is public safety and have expressed some concerns regarding individuals, at or associated to the demonstration, selling or giving marijuana products to kids which is what unfortunately lead to the arrest of several people last year,” Montague said, through email. “Obviously, we want to avoid a repeat of that.”

Montague said marijuana enforcement remains a low priority for the police department and they continue to facilitate lawful and peaceful protests.

On the event’s Facebook page, organizers say the Cannabis Day event is necessary in order to ensure a free, fair and open cannabis industry

“By coming together as a grassroots community at a cannabis farmers market, we can help keep the market free and competitive,” organizers wrote.

Cannabis Growers of Canada Director of Outreach Jaclynn Pehota said the group is looking forward to the annual day of civil disobedience, with CGC president Chad Jackett speaking to attendees.

Pehota said it’s important that the event go ahead and include the diverse membership of the industry.

“We’re really excited to see that there’s new blood being introduced into the event, that’s really important because it represents the diversity of the cannabis community and we are excited to be there to support the patients,” she said.

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