420 Vancouver organizers report they've settled city bills for 2018, mostly

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A lead organizer of Vancouver's annual 420 festival and protest has said he's settled the event's bills for 2018.

"Just sent cheque for $32,104 to Park Board & one for $31,097 to Vancouver City Hall," Dana Larsen wrote on Twitter. "This $63,201 from Vancouver 420 Events Society is to cover city costs from our April 20 protest. We are the only event in the city that's refused a permit but still pays all these fees & costs.

"The $63,201 covers all city and park board costs from 420, including sanitation, traffic control, park maintenance, security, emergency services, parking, lost revenue from closing the swimming pool, and everything else except for policing," he continued.

"Overall I think it's fair for us to pay these costs," Larsen wrote. "420 is now an event that generates revenue."

He noted that additional costs were paid directly to service providers.

There were a couple of costs for which Larsen noted 420 organizers have said they will not pay.

In the weeks leading up to the April 2018 event, the park board refused to grant the festival a permit. So, Larsen said, when he and his colleagues received a bill for $5,000 for that permit that they were repeatedly denied, they decided they would stiff the civic body on that one item.

"They actually tried to bill us for the permit they refused to give us, as 'lost revenue' from the permit fee!" Larsen wrote on Twitter. "We thought it was a bit cheeky of them to try and charge us for a permit they didn't grant."

Larsen said organizers have also refused to pay policing costs for 420, which, in 2018, somehow added up to $170,000 for the single-day event.

"We didn't pledge to cover the policing bill, and we're unable to do that," Larsen told CBC News. "It's absurdly high, but we've covered all the other expenses associated with the event."

In Larsen's Twitter posts, he added that 420 organizers also donated $8,400, dividing that sum between St. Paul's Hospital and the Vancouver Firefighter's "Snacks for Kids" program.

"There will be a new city council & Park Board in a few weeks," Larsen wrote in reference to Vancouver's upcoming election. "I hope we can get more people in who want to treat cannabis themed public events fairly and will start issuing permits to outdoor events where people want to use cannabis instead of, or in addition to, using alcohol."

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