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Kitchener 420 rally gets elevated; offers extraction station, vaporizers, music

Organizers say you'll be able to consume cannabis, learn about vaporizers and extracts, and have a 'ganja good time'
Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press

It will be the first '420' since legalization took effect here in Canada, and many are planning events to celebrate the historic cannabis occasion. 

Tony Millar is Communications Director of Alternative Cannabis Consumption Awareness and a publicist with the Kitchener Cannabis Club.

He said things will be a lot different this year at the annual 420 rally in Kitchener. 

"It's not a protest anymore, so there was a lot more communicating with the City of Kitchener and potential partners to help kind of embrace legalization and make sure the event runs smoothly. It's more of a celebration this year."

However, Millar said those in the marijuana community are still advocating for a few things.

"One thing is a lack of education .. there's not really any good resources to tell you how to safely consume cannabis, or what else is out there. The second thing is dabs or cannabis extracts - they have been heavily overlooked by both the government and the community for the most part. So us educating people on how to safely extract cannabis, and how to safely consume extracts, is pretty high on our agenda."

He added this year at the Kitchener event, there will be an extraction station where patrons can extract their own cannabis into oil using a rosin press hosted by volunteers.

"There will also be the opportunity for people to try vaporizers - we'll have a classic Volcano-style vaporizer, as well as dab rigs. We'll demonstrate how to safely consume extracts, and guests will be able to learn about all of that."

Crowds in the past have been fairly minimal at the event, but this year could be different.

"One of the most exciting things this year is that with the Smoke Free Ontario Act - anywhere you can smoke cigarettes, you can smoke cannabis. So we're really capitalizing on that, and promoting the fact that you can in fact smoke in front of City Hall - you're not breaking any laws. You just have to be away from the doors, but all across the stage and vaping areas - smoking will be permitted."

There are some showers in the forecast for Saturday, but organizers are also preparing for that.

"We are looking at renting pop-up tents, as well as a designated area where people can stay dry, learn about consuming, and have a good time."

As much as you're encouraged to enjoy yourself on 420, you're also reminded to be respectful - as the event is setting a precedent for any possible future pot opportunities in Waterloo Region.

"Pardon the pun - it's really about growing with the community and growing with the industry. Just a little extra note - we are actually in talks with a venue in KW, a major sponsor lined up, so we are looking at launching quite possibly Ontario's first cannabis festival in the region this year. So that's very exciting for us as well."

The 420 Freedom Festival is happening on Saturday, April 20 at Kitchener City Hall from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

It will feature local musicians and free giveaways - including rolling papers, pipes, and other cannabis accessories. 

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