Park commissioner Tricia Barker wants staff to study possibility of ending 4/20 cannabis sales at Sunset Beach

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Another NPA politician has stepped forward to try to put a damper on the annual 4/20 celebration of cannabis at Sunset Beach.

First-term commissioner Tricia Barker has filed a notice of motion calling on her colleagues to "direct staff to explore options available to preclude sale of cannabis and cannabis related products" at this year's event.

It's on the agenda for the Monday (February 11) meeting.

The motion also seeks commissioners' support to send a letter to Mayor Kennedy Stewart and Vancouver city council. It would ask them to continue exploring the possibility of finding an alternate venue for the event, which takes place every year on April 20.

Barker is a personal trainer and former advertising producer who made beer commercials many years ago.

Watch a Kokanee beer commercial that Barker produced.

There's been a great debate within the liquor industry over whether cannabis legalization will hamper beer sales.

Barker's motion points out that there is now a legal framework for the production, sale, possession, and use of cannabis—and this does not allow for the sale of weed-related products at Sunset Beach.

"During the 2018 event, VPD counted 482 vendor tents," the motion states. "420 organizers generate revenue from fees paid by vendors."

The NPA commissioner's motion also notes vaping and smoking cannabis is banned in parks and on beaches.

Barker didn't reveal on her website before the October 20 election that she would take action against the 4/20 festival.

However, this shouldn't come as a huge surprise, given her party's history of opposition.

In 2017 three NPA commissioners—John Coupar, Sarah Kirby-Yung, and Casey Crawford—joined Green commissioner Stuart Mackinnon in voting to ban all cannabis-related events at beaches and in local parks.

In response, 4/20 organizer Dana Larsen wrote a commentary saying that the four commissioners refused to engage in any negotiations and he wasn't allowed to speak at the meeting when the vote took place.

"Staff made it clear that the park board could give us a permit to use cannabis at the beach that day, in the same way they regularly issue permits for amplified music, liquor sales, and beer gardens," Larsen wrote at the time. "Vancouver parks normally forbid alcohol, smoking, and loud music, but these and other bylaws can be waived through the permit process."

Larsen also revealed in his column that the park board's denial of a permit meant that 4/20 organizers couldn't buy insurance. Plus, he suggested this could bean less revenue for the park board.

"As Vision commissioner [Catherine] Evans pointed out during the meeting, refusing us a permit for 4/20 is equivalent to giving us a subsidy," Larsen added. "We had been working with park board staff on an arrangement which would have covered a substantial portion of the event costs, but without a permit that arrangement is in question."

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