Montreal’s 420 rally took place at Mount Royal Park, a large park west of downtown Montreal that hosts hundreds on sunny weekends. As the day began with rain and wind, the crowd was slow to gather. By 2:30 pm, about 60 people had gathered close to the music. Tethered tarps provided the DJ booth and a small dance space with protection from the rain, and about half the crowd donned ponchos handed out by the Organisation Canadienne pour la Législation de la Marihuana (OCLM). People moved to the dancehall tunes and shared joints in the rain as the crowd grew.
By 4:20 pm, hundreds had gathered in defiance of the ongoing downpour and the illegality of cannabis, forming a second, larger crowd near the George-Etienne Cartier Monument a couple hundred feet from the DJ booth. Due to the weather, we weren’t able to set up a CSSDP table, so Mel, Jesse, and myself walked around and talked to several groups of people, sharing Drug Policy Alliance stickers and pins, CSSDP rolling trays, and NORML campaign materials. At the same time, about two dozen OCLM volunteers worked their way through the crowd, speaking to people and handing out flyers and t-shirts. The main tent shielded joint rollers from the rain, and a visible layer of smoke had begun to form above people’s heads. Closer to the street, a CTV anchor interviewed members of the crowd and gathered soundbites for the evening news.
The turnout at the Montreal rally, as well as other rallies across the country, is an ongoing testament to the public support for the legalization of production, distribution, and possession of cannabis in Canada. With several states in the U.S. already moving in this direction, many Canadians feel it’s time for us to do the same, and the turnout of well over 100,000 at rallies across the country hopes to ensure that legalization becomes a key issue in this upcoming election year.