The marijuana smoke that hovered over the downtown Vancouver peninsula on April 20 has long dissipated, but it has left city taxpayers with a hefty bill.
Tens of thousands attended the unsanctioned and unpermitted 4/20 marijuana smoke-out event last month. Although the event was ‘moved’ to Sunset Beach, organizers of the event still encouraged a second congregation at the Vancouver Art Gallery resulting in an attendance that was much larger than previous years.
The City of Vancouver says various departments spent a total of $148,000 on traffic control, clean-up, and public safety measures for attendees, nearby residents, and commuters passing through.
This includes $99,400 from the Vancouver Police Department, $24,000 from the Vancouver Park Board, $13,600 from Streets and Sanitation, $6,900 from Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, and $4,100 from Traffic, Special Events and Emergency Management. However, the total could be potentially more as this excludes regular staff time spent on addressing concerns and organizing logistics.
In contrast, the 2015 event cost $92,500, a smaller amount given that it was not held on park lands. Vancouver Aquatic Centre, which is located immediately adjacent to the Sunset Beach 4/20 site, was closed on the day of the event for the fear of hot boxing.
At least 16 people were admitted to St. Paul’s Hospital after their 4/20 celebrations took a turn for the worse.