EDITORIAL – A perfectly good protest has been ruined by legalization

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 opinion website, and is a director on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board. He can be reached at

About Mel Rothenburger (7708 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

1 Comment on EDITORIAL – A perfectly good protest has been ruined by legalization

  1. Mel, are you not aware that Cannabis is more illegal now than it was prior to so-called legalization?
    We did not get legalization. We got regulation. What we voted for trudeauj for, was for repeal of unjust prohibition. Instead a whole raft of new prohibitions have been added. There still plenty to protest. We were promised science-based laws. We were NOT told that the industry would be taken out of the hands of the people that had created it, and put into the hands of friends of the government.
    There is still a lot to do before Cannabis and Cannabis users are free. It is time to end discrimination against cannabis users. There has never been demonstrable justification for prohibition, therefore it is unconstitutional and always has been. Records of offences connected to cannabis must be expunged because the offences themselves were unconstitutional charter violations.
    I will never understand people’s objection to cannabis people seem to be just jealous of others enjoying themselves. The haters and the object or‘s are the ones that need to be put to rest. Cannabis saves lives. Another name for a prohibitionist, is a murderer

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