Updated: Apr 22, 2019
April 20th has been a symbolic date for most people who have any relationship with cannabis.
Some of us have watched the news, some of us have talked about issues of legalization with friends, family and co-workers, some of us have stood on Parliament Hill, and some of us have just smoked our faces off. Whether it's something you observe from afar, a cause very close to your heart, or something in between, 420 has been an undeniable rallying point around the ongoing progress we are making as a society and as a nation.
Is it still?
During one of our round table chats, we asked each of our Cannabis Curation Committee members to reflect upon the meaning of 420 this year, an auspicious one for obvious reasons. It's interesting to see the patterns and recurring themes that may be indicative of how many Canadians are feeling. Read their thoughts below, and as always, we invite you to let us know yours.
Does 420 still matter? Of course it still matters. Why? Because the stigma still exists, the stereotypes still exist, and as a culture we haven’t actually accepted cannabis as a lifestyle. Until that happens, 420 is important both from a change perspective and a cultural perspective.
So yes, we should still be celebrating. There is so much shit in this world and we need to celebrate the good things in this life. It’s also an opportunity to start a conversation, to engage with people, to actually approach people with curiosity and say, "Help me understand some of
your perspectives that have led to your desire to be against cannabis."
We need to be loud and proud and we need to spread the gospel and I think 420 is the perfect opportunity and the question is if not now, when?
Also, a shoutout to NORML which is the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the campaign for Cannabis Amnesty. Both of them are great organizations that I encourage everyone to explore volunteering with. The campaign for cannabis amnesty is not pushing for pardons, they are pushing for expungements – huge difference – very important for all of us to know the difference. Pardons are still associated with a lot of legal complications. Expungements are what’s required for people to actually get a fresh start – to have their cannabis convictions fully removed from the record.
420 is a culture of people that were willing to stand up for truth when truth wasn’t the most popular answer. Even though it’s been legalized I still think getting together to celebrate is important. I think there are a lot of people that were in the trenches when it was not not legal – you could be getting into a lot of trouble for doing that kind of stuff – and I think we should celebrate the culture of bringing forth truth. To me that’s what 420 continues to represent.
This 420 I’m going to be doing a comedy show at an event. It’s really cool, it’s a cannabis community in Calgary, and these people have been getting together as legalization has been coming around, keeping each other informed. They brought me in as a poet last time. I wrote a poem about terpenes, and this time I’m going to be doing comedy. It’s really fun talking about my favourite thing, cannabis, through comedy.
I go by Kayla – that’s my government name. My real name is Kween – it’s just like 420. 420 is something the cannabis community created. It’s ours, we own it. October 17th is just a date that Justin Trudeau decided on. So although that is really important because legalization actually came into play, for years we’ve been celebrating and advocating for the people on 420. Plus it’s way nicer out, nobody wants to smoke weed in the snow. We’ll smoke on 420. It’s really important that we still have that urge, just like Tamara said, we have to keep advocating because we still have massive stigma around it and
until that can happen, I think we should continue to smoke up.
We have the power of social media now. As a personal entity, there is a lot you can say and speak out about. I don’t think much is going to change this year. We’re not there yet, there’s still too much stigma, too much to fight for. We continue those campaigns, fight for people’s rights. I think it’s important that we just keep spreading the news, these blogs, these video posts, etc.
It’s a celebration for sure because we have come along way, but also I want us to remember that a lot of people still have criminal records who really don’t deserve to, and if there’s anything to protest at this time, I think it would be getting people exonerated. I’m just talking about minor stuff too, really stupid stuff that ruined a person's life for something that others had been fortunate enough to do and just not get busted. I think it’s a bit of a celebration, but we’re not all the way there yet and that’s basically what 420 means to me.
It’s been a long time since I went out to any great big rallies. That would be back when I was in Toronto. Of course, here I’m many, many miles from any large groups of people. So yeah, I’ll be out on my back deck with a vapourizer, some high potency sativa, drawing cartoons and barbequing.