For years, 4-20 was a time to lobby for the legalization of recreational cannabis.
Dozens gathered at Red Deer City Hall on Saturday to celebrate the first 4-20 since cannabis was legalized by the federal government.
“It’s a huge step after many years of prohibition. Now that it’s legalized, it can’t get any better than this,” said Ryan Fiacco, of Red Deer.
“We’re here to support (cannabis legalization). It’s an amazing thing for us not having to protest anymore and to just be able to celebrate.”
April 20 is known as 4-20, which is a day people around the world celebrate and consume cannabis.
Fiacco said he’s been smoking cannabis for 20 years.
“To be able to come out to a park, get a group in the community together and not have to worry – it’s going to be a good time,” he said, just minutes before the clock struck 4:20 p.m.
Oliver Bennett, also of Red Deer, said he looks forward to 4-20 every year.
“There are cops right over there. They’re walking around, they walk through the park, but they don’t bust anybody, because they respect the day,” Bennett said, adding he has smoked cannabis for 30 years.
Fiacco added that the police “understand it’s legal now and they’re here to make sure there is no conflict between people smoking and anyone who still wants to prohibit the use of it.”
Colin Fisher, from the recreational cannabis store Greentown, said 4-20 wasn’t overly busy, but was a solid day for the business.
“It was a bit slow in the morning, but around 2 p.m., it started to pick up and has been pretty steady since then. There have been some busy spurts,” he said.
“It definitely hasn’t been one of the busiest days since we opened, but it’s been a little busier than expected.”
Fisher said there is still a bit of a stigma surrounding people who smoke cannabis. Hopefully, that stigma fades over time, he added.
“Prior to legalization, 4-20 was a pretty well-recognized day. Some would even argue it was a holiday. It’s nice that it brings some light to the product and the industry to get some people thinking about it,” said Fisher.