There was something different in the cold and rainy air during this year’s myriad of 420 celebrations in Toronto.
Canada’s largest city was overrun by an ever-present fog of pot smoke and the fresh feeling of public confidence that had been lacking in previous years. It was a confidence in knowing that the country, just over a week ago, tabled legislation that will spell the end of over nine decades of cannabis prohibition.
The excitement was almost tactile as dispensary owners, joint rollers, and thousands of adults joining in the celebrations openly shared free cannabis products as one community. Although the Toronto Police presence were plentiful at these events, the cops were merely bystanders and sightseers on the the cannabis community’s day of celebration.
The first of the events I was fortunate enough to attend was Green Market Toronto. Lisa Campbell and her crew did a fantastic job, as usual. A DJ pumped out rock and electronica music while adults of all ages roamed the booths and enjoyed a plethora of infused samples. Vaporizers ready for a toke, oils, shatter, edibles and hash products were openly displayed and enjoyed.
The event took place in Toronto’s Kensington Market, which is a small village comprised of narrow, crisscrossing streets. In it, lay some of the most creative stores one can think of including artisan pie shops, small art galleries, decades-old pizzerias, and of course, dispensaries and vapour lounges. The aroma of a melange of marijuana strains trickled its way through several blocks, making it evident what day of the year it was.
Shortly after consuming a brownie and a gummy bear, which were both destined to make my afternoon epic, I set off to the 420 celebrations at Dundas Square.
For anyone who has not had the good fortune of visiting Toronto, the Square is essentially a piazza of party in the heart of the city. It was there that a massive 420 event took place, with Weedmaps as a major sponsor educating the attendees and sending folks home with free gear.
A crowd of thousands packed into this normally spacious venue that included a stage where activists, poets, and anyone else who simply loved pot cheered on the crowd. Booths selling T-shirts, paraphernalia, and munchies like donuts and chips lined the outer perimeter. There were also many daring individuals walking around selling infused cheesecake and joints, despite the strong police presence. The event was something to be seen.
Once the sun faded from the Toronto skyline, I was able to attend a swanky party thrown by the awesomely stylish people at Tokyo Smoke. If there was a more high-class 420 event in Toronto yesterday, I certainly didn’t hear about it.
Music pumped through the venue as guests drank top-shelf alcohol and enjoyed a table full of candy at the back. The packed house was very much an industry-style event, where conversations could be heard about many different products, stocks, investments, and the future of the cannabis market as one meandered through the crowd.
After hopping the subway and heading home, there was time to reflect on the significance of this particular 420.
In the past, there was always a groundswell of excitement when this holiday came around — knowing we’d be able to enjoy marijuana openly without prohibition’s harsh consequences. However, this positive energy always became a tad melancholy by the evening, once we inevitably realized that it would be back to business as usual the following day. But this year, a lingering satisfaction remained knowing that Canada is the furthest it’s ever been in ending prohibition once and for all.
One can only imagine what next year’s 420 will be like.
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