An editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
WHEN YOU’VE SPENT years protesting something, it’s hard to stop even when there’s no longer anything to protest.
Thousands turned out to the annual 4/20 protest in Vancouver on Saturday, thousands more in other cities across the country.
But it was really the dying breath of what is now a pointless exercise. In Kamloops, it seems, people were more concerned about hunting for Easter eggs than places to light up.
In its heyday, 4/20 was the ultimate thumb in the eye of authority. Pot heads found security in numbers, joining together to smoke marijuana when it was still illegal. They dared police to do anything about it.
But now that recreational weed is legal in Canada, they can’t quit. They’re hooked on protest even though they’ve won. Desperately, they seek other excuses to carry on, claiming victory is not yet complete.
At the least, they insist, marijuana in and of itself is worth celebrating. Indeed, 4/20 day is suddenly really just another festival, with vendors and music. The only bit of rebellion left in it is when organizers refuse to get an event permit from City Hall. The only controversies are around local zoning bylaws and taxation of product.
The popularity of marijuana exploded with the hippie era, “make love not war” and all that, when we grew our hair long, tie-dyed our T-shirts, lived in communes and dodged the ever-watchful “narks.”
No more. The weed has gone mainstream.
In the U.S. and other countries, where it’s not yet legal, there’s still a reason for 4/20 day.
But here at home, it seems kind of silly to protest in support of a legal substance. The days of Woodstock are over.
The most humane act for 4/20 would be to put it to rest.
Mel Rothenburger is a former mayor of Kamloops and newspaper editor. He publishes the ArmchairMayor.ca opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at email@example.com.