Media coverage of Vancouver’s 4/20 protest festival is very different from that given to every other event in the city. While stories about festivals like Vaisakhi or the Pride Parade focus on the revenues generated by local businesses and the economic benefits these community events bring, our cannabis event is viciously attacked in the media as some kind of drain on civic resources.
In fact, the complete opposite is true. B.C.’s cannabis industry is one of our province’s biggest economic engines. The cannabis industry and associated businesses employ hundreds of thousands of people across the province, bringing wealth and prosperity to many rural and urban communities. Without the strength of their local cannabis industry, many regions of our province would have long since become destitute ghost towns.
The real waste of money is not the trivial amount spent hosting the 4/20 protest festival once a year. The true drain on city resources is the massive cost of enforcing cannabis prohibition.
Canada spends about $1.2 billion a year enforcing our archaic and bigoted laws against cannabis. If we divide that figure up evenly across the country, we see that our share in Metro Vancouver is about $84 million a year, which comes to over $230,000 every single day!
Where are the headlines about this massive waste of money? While newspapers fall over themselves to be scandalized by 100 grand going towards policing 4/20 once a year, they are silent about the much bigger expense of fighting the pointless war against cannabis plants and those who use them.
Vancouver owes its cannabis community a big debt of gratitude
The fact is that Vancouver’s cannabis activists have saved the city many millions of dollars over the years.
Vancouver used to waste major police resources raiding bong shops and busting people for selling vaporizers. Our activism put an end to that practice, allowing VPD to focus on solving real crimes that actually cause harm.