We got to feel it all, watch it all, smell it all and smoke it all. The HigherMentality team hit the streets to get a first-hand experience.
One of the best days of the year for the cannabis community where we can all gather and give thanks to the Ganja Gods for everything they have provided for us. And this year was a huge year to celebrate with legalization on the horizon. Higher Mentality decided to get up front and personal and hit the streets early afternoon to catch all the 420 Toronto glory. But, even with the promise of legalization, it was still a struggle for permit rights.
Chris Goodwin and Erin Goodwin did an amazing job at trying to get this event happening. With booked speakers, performer and a space to celebrate. But all that was of course ruined by the Toronto Police Force. Seems a little crazy that in the year post-legalization they make an effort to shut us down. That didn’t stop us though. Although vendors were shut down, people were still selling products, mingling and a crowd of 30 turned into all of Nathan Phillip Square full on the peak of 4:20 pm.
Dance For A Lighter
We had so much fun at 420 Toronto being the middle of all the people and weed smoke. Seeing everyone smoking from bongs, from joints, from pipes, using vape pens and sharing the love. So our team decide on a goal: make people dance for a lighter. And it is awesome how open and accepting the community was of this option. And what better way to celebrate then using your lighter to hit the bong after!
It was sad to see what happened to the vendors this year. I mean, the best part of the 420 events is being about to smoke and support those creating new waves in the cannabis field. But that dream fizzled thanks to the Toronto Police. We know how it works though – no permit – no sale. However, that didn’t stop anyone. And in true entrepreneur style, they went around person to person selling items. Stumbling on flower for sale, jewellery, topicals, paintings and even clothing. I was lucky enough to meet a vendor called Salty @sallttyy.jo, who creates beautiful jewellery made from rose, weed, opal and all sorts of crystals. Make sure you stay tuned for our interview with her discussing 420, being an entrepreneur and her craft business.
It was a different year, without being able to receive permits – there was a lot of things we just couldn’t do. But the Higher Mentality team are huge fans of music and made sure to rock a portable speaker with us all day. And we really were the only ones. The best part is that it attracted all sorts of people to our giveaways and we got to smoke with people of all ages, of all backgrounds, all workforces, and all personalities.
The 420 Toronto Experience
Overall, 420 Toronto was an unreal experience. With floods of smoke, just walking through the people you were bound to get contact high. Now, this was my first 420 celebration downtown and I never want to miss out again. We talked to amazing people about their stories. There were even cannabis supporters who came down all the way from Ottawa after Parliament was shut down. And it seemed for once, advocates, pioneers and patients all came out of the woodworks.
We spoke to a man who has been smoking pretty much his whole life. Over 30 years without celebrating and now he finally felt safe enough to come out, smoke up and support. And this idea was pretty common amongst those we spoke too. The fear of getting arrested for smoking a joint. The fear of riots and aggression from the police force. And of course – the stories from those of colour who talked about experience racism and discrimination.
And we weren’t the only ones out doing giveaways. Foria Wellness was giving away lip balm, KRGirls were doing trivia for prizes, HERB was doing interviews and lots of dispensaries were out showing off their product!
Nevertheless, this was the year to celebrate. And even with the backlash from government and police, it didn’t stop those from celebrating and lighting up to the future.