People sit on a hill overlooking tents setup by vendors at Sunset Beach during the 4-20 annual marijuana celebration, in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday April 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Vancouver Park Board urges pot event organizers to cancel 4-20 rap event

Organizers have hired rap singer Cypress Hill to headline the 2019 festival

The Vancouver Park Board has passed a motion asking organizers of an annual marijuana festival to cancel a recently announced headline act, fearing the performance could draw even more people to the unsanctioned event.

The 4-20 festival, held annually in Vancouver on April 20 as a celebration of cannabis culture, attracted about 40,000 people to Sunset Beach last year, defying Park Board regulations requiring permits for large events.

READ MORE: PNE says no to Vancouver’s 4/20 gathering

Organizers have hired rap group Cypress Hill to headline the 2019 festival, prompting Commissioner John Coupar to make a motion calling for cancellation of the concert.

Park Board commissioners have also requested an urgent meeting with Vancouver Police, Fire and Rescue Services, as well as officials from Coastal Health, to discuss safety concerns.

The 4-20 event has been held at Sunset Beach since 2017, after lack of space squeezed it out of its original location on the plaza outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, and Coupar worries the concert and added attendance will mean even more damage to the green space.

He’s hopeful the motion will encourage the organizers to scale back but is skeptical because it’s the 25th anniversary of 4-20 in Vancouver, it falls on the Easter long weekend and it’s the first event since marijuana was legalized in Canada.

The addition of Cypress Hill is an unacceptable escalation, Coupar says.

“It’s almost like they’re saying, ‘Okay, you think it was big last year, we’re going to really make it bigger and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ “

“If you compare it to, say, Celebration of Light, they pay all the fees, they pay all the policing. We don’t allow 250,000 people to come down to English Bay and drink openly on the beach,” he says.

The request to cancel the rap concert is reasonable and Coupar says 4-20 organizers should consider the consequences of refusal.

“We’re sending a message. If they want to work in the future with any of the agencies of the city, I think they should consider a reasonable request from the Vancouver Park Board. I’m hoping they step back and take a reasoned look at it.”

Supporters of the event have defended the move to Sunset Beach in the past, calling allegations of damage to the fields “smear messaging” against the marijuana movement.

Organizers covered grass fields with plywood last year to protect turf that was churned to mud during rainy celebrations in 2017, but they have refused to pay policing costs estimated at about $200,000, and also defy park board restrictions against smoking in city parks. (News1130)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Columbia Shuswap Regional District office to begin phased reopening

Office will be open for four-hour days beginning next week

Flooding prompts closure of parks along Shuswap and Mara lakes

Boaters asked to respect No Wake policy protecting properties along water

Back in play: Columbia Shuswap Regional District reopening playgrounds

Signs with reminders about COVID-19 regulations will be posted

Salmon Arm demonstrators show unity with Black Lives Matter movement

Participants speak out against systemic racism and targeting of vulnerable populations

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Bear strolls into Okangan homeowner’s living room

Conservation officers are searching for the bear, which entered a home in the Foothills area

Most Read