The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pro-marijuana rallies held from across the country, and on Parliament Hill

  • Print

MONTREAL - Canadians gathered in cities across the country Saturday to mark April 20, an unofficial annual holiday celebrating cannabis culture.

A large crowd rallied on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to promote the legalization of marijuana despite cold weather.

In Montreal, people gathered at the foot of Mount Royal while hundreds turned out for an event in downtown Toronto.

And in Vancouver, hundreds jammed the downtown core to gather around the city's historic art gallery, the centre of the protest culture in the city.

Police officers could be seen chatting with those in the crowd as the smell of pot wafted for blocks..

Vancouver Const. Brian Montague said the force planned to have plenty of officers on hand, but he suggested those enjoying the illicit weed wouldn't necessarily be tossed into a squad car.

"Our intention isn’t to necessarily act on those that are committing minor offences," Montague said. "We would have to take anything that is brought to our attention, we would have to look at and decide whether or not we should act on the information we have."

Montague noted that over the years, the rally has been a peaceful protest and there's no reason to suggest anything different this year.

"If anyone reads our drug policy, it’s quite clear that minor offences involving things like marijuana is something that’s not a high priority for us. To put the general public at risk for minor offences is something we wouldn’t necessarily do," he adds.

Last week, Stop the Violence BC _ a coalition of police, doctors, lawyers, politicians and academics _ issued a news release calling on the legaliziation of marijuana to become an issue in the B.C. election campaign.

The group argues a regulated and taxed marijuana market could choke the flow of funds going to organized crime, reduce the proliferation of illegal grow-ops in B.C. and fund drug awareness and harm prevention campaigns.

The group proposes a research trial that would test the impact of a regulated marijuana market in British Columbia

The group wants whichever party forms government to commit to advocating for an exemption to the Criminal Code to allow the trial, but politicians from both the Liberals and the NDP have said the matter is a federal one and the parties have been non-committal about lobbying for the exemption.

Such an exemption is what allows Vancouver's safe injection site to operate.

This year's celebration comes with an extra dose of optimism for pro-legalization activists.

Washington and Colorado legalized the drug last November.

Group smoke-outs were planned in American cities from New York to San Francisco.

The origins of the number "420'' as a code for pot are hazy, but the date 4/20 has become a day when marijuana users gather together.

(News 1130)

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Feeling at home at Home Expressions

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos


Will the closure of Future Shop affect your shopping?

View Results

Ads by Google