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Unsanctioned 4/20 festivities in full swing at Sunset Beach

Last Updated Apr 20, 2018 at 3:59 pm PDT

People gather at Sunset Beach in Vancouver for 4/20 on Apr. 20, 2018. (Lasia Kretzel, NEWS 1130 Photo)

This year's 4/20 event could be the last before marijuana is legalized in Canada

Nursing professor warns people attending 4/20 event to be prepared and not to mix drugs

After last year's 4/20 event, the grass turned to mud and there were arguments over who should pay for the clean-up

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Thousands of people are at Sunset Beach today for the annual 4/20 celebration.

This year’s event could be the last one before pot is legalized in Canada.

Dozens of colourful tents blanket the grass and sand at the beach. Between them, thousands of people have been mingling about, taking in everything from food, drinks, and souveniers to, of course, the plant of the hour.

Dozens of police officers and traffic guards stand casually at the top of the hill, as the smell from down below wafts up to meet balloons advertising the source. Paramedics are also standing by.

Beneath feet, plastic mats coat part of the grassy field. It’s an effort by rally organizers to avoid a repeat of last year’s lawn-destroying disaster that closed the park for weeks and cost thousands of tax dollars to repair.

But overall, the atmosphere is lax, with people casually strolling by officers, joints and even plants in hand, all waiting for 4:20 p.m.

The set up began yesterday — the main stage had already been set up by early this morning. Both venders and revellers showed up as early as 6 a.m.

The smoke started drifting into the sky well before this afternoon’s big smoke-in.

While smoke will indeed soar above the water, it is edibles — or consumable pot — that worries Assistant Professor Emily Jenkins with UBC’s Nursing Department.

“With edibles, we’re just concerned around people not having experience in using them before, perhaps not knowing the potency of them and the time that it takes for the edible to kick in — so, potentially consuming more of the substance than they would if they were smoking, for example.”

She says people heading to the event should be prepared. “We want to make sure that people are drinking enough water — enough fluids. But most importantly, in terms of cannabis, that young people — when they choose to use — are using in moderation.”

Jenkins adds people should be getting their cannabis from reputable sources.

She also reminds people not to mix different drugs — including alcohol.

Beach Avenue is closed to eastbound between Pacific and Thurlow Streets. Only local traffic is allowed westbound on Beach Avenue until 10 p.m.

The parking restrictions will be in effect until midnight.

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