British Columbia

Vancouver 4/20 organizers send $30K cheques to cover event costs

Organizers behind the annual 4/20 event at Vancouver's Sunset Beach have sent cheques to the city and the park board to cover costs associated with the event.

Organizers sent $31,097 to the city and $32,104 to the park board for April event

Smoke fills the air above the thousands of people gathered around the stage shortly after the clock struck 4:20 p.m. in Vancouver in April, 2018. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

The people behind the annual 4/20 event at Vancouver's Sunset Beach have sent cheques to the city and the park board to cover costs associated with the event.

Dana Larsen, one of directors of the Vancouver 4/20 Event Society, said that a cheque for $31,097 was sent to the city on Thursday, along with a $32,104 for the Vancouver Park Board.

"Four-twenty is actually generating revenue now, which it never used to in the past. This event has always been a protest and a celebration of the cannabis culture," said Larsen. "But we've been able to reserve booth spaces and do more promotion and generate revenue like that."

This year, according to Larsen, organizers funded turf-protecting mats to keep the field from being damaged — an issue that drew negative press for the event last year after the field had to be closed for repairs after the event.

A man wearing novelty cannabis sunglasses inhales from a joint during the 2018 4/20 event in Vancouver. (Rafferty Baker/CBC)

Aside from reimbursing the cost of repairing the damaged lawn last year, Larsen said this was the first time the event organizers were able to cover general costs.

However, they didn't agree to pay for everything. Larsen was told policing the event ran about $170,000 this year — and organizers said from the outset that wouldn't be paid for.

"We didn't pledge to cover the policing bill, and we're unable to do that — it's absurdly high, but we've covered all the other expenses associated with the event." he said.

There was, however, one other cost that was left unpaid: Larsen said they were sent a $5,000 bill for an event permit — something they weren't granted by the park board after it turned into a heated political issue leading up to the April event this year.

Larsen said he hopes to get a permit for the event next year, as it's morphing into something different than the pure protest it once was. Furthermore, cannabis will be legal in Canada by the time the next annual event rolls around.

He said the event will stay at Sunset Beach, unless a permit can be obtained for the Pacific National Exhibition grounds — something that was rejected this year.

Follow Rafferty Baker on Twitter: @raffertybaker

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