British Columbia

Vancouver 4/20 rally costs to be paid by the city

The city will have to foot the bill for Monday's 4/20 pot fest that closed down major traffic arteries, because the organizers did not have an official permit to run the event.

Organizers did not have permit to run the annual marijuana rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery

More than 25,000 people crowded the plaza at the Vancouver Art Gallery and nearby downtown streets to celebrate pot on 4/20. (Al Stewart/CBC)

The city will have to foot the bill for Monday's 4/20 pot fest that closed down major traffic arteries, because the organizers did not have an official permit to run the event. 

Vancouver Police had planned to close down some downtown streets as part of the annual marijuana rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery, but the crowds got so big that West Georgia Street was closed to traffic from Burrard to Seymour streets.

"Other events and festivals are treated totally differently...[Organizers pay] costs for the space or for policing and engineering costs," said Charles Gauthier, president and CEO of the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Area.

Since the organizers did not have the necessary permit, the policing and staff cost associated with street closures and traffic control — the total cost which has yet to be determined — is now going to be paid by the city.

Medical costs

Some ambulance costs will be paid for by marijuana advocates for the 64 patients who were treated at St. Paul's Hospital for health concerns associated with marijuana consumption.

"64 people in the emergency department is a large number, in an already busy emergency department," said Dave Lefebvre, a spokesperson for Providence Health Care. "Those illnesses ranged from nausea to heart palpitations to varying degress on consciousness."

The city has not said whether it will require permits from the organizers next year.

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