Amazing pot smog hangs hazily in the sunny afternoon during Toronto Hash Mob’s second successful smoke-out on Sunday, April 20, better known as 4/20.
By 4:20 pm, almost 2,000 stoners fill our makeshift auditorium behind College Park at 420 Yonge.
They come to blaze. Standing three deep on steps leading onto a dry outdoor skating rink, enthusiasts wave their weed.
Our message to Stephen Harper, “We Got High! We Got High! We Got High!” Here we are a block away from police headquarters, and no one is arrested. Uniformed Toronto police officers just pretend our peaceful act of civil disobedience isn’t happening.
If the city would only grant our request for regulation and local taxation of marijuana sales, we could stop these awkward moments for them.
Soon, I take the makeshift podium and lay out the smoke-out ground rules. There shall be plentiful peaceful public puffing. Most importantly, no violence.
“If you are here to hurt anyone, break property or embarrass organizers in front of the media, you are a narc pig bastard,” I say. Attendees howl understandingly.
Moments later, a stoner in a superhero-size bong costume arrives. The growing gathering erupts in approval. He poses. Flexes muscles. Then a puff of smoke goes out his top. More roaring.
The socializing is extensive, but it comes with prohibition precautions. So many beautiful bud babes, but one or two of them, sadly, will be narcs.
Experience teaches me a few undercovers are posing as potheads. They are probably angling to cop any amount of cannabis – shared or sold doesn’t matter. For anyone offering some, that’s a trafficking charge.
But this requires collection of evidence (i.e., giving a guy or gal ganja), not footage of stoners publicly puffing. Two try to fish us. One’s polite and friendly, but then a downright annoying fellow keeps pestering.
“Dude, you just asked the organizers for weed. That’s not cool,” an activist who calls himself Goodster reprimands him between puffs.
It’s easy to dismiss the strategic value of this bong-fest. But, really, the apolitical are politicized here. They’re not going to attend boring city council debates, pro-pot forums or put their names on a petition.
It’s not weed making them lazy. The politicos have trouble mustering their own tuned-in troops today. That’s what I conclude when I visit the 300-strong noon-hour Yonge-Dundas Square Earth Day rally. Guess Jack Layton isn’t much of a draw compared to doobies in a park.
The tuned-in have to start accepting the horde of turned-on, or we’re all going to drop out. With Tories taking on tokers, Toronto Hash Mob will take on the Tories by toking more publicly than ever. Just smell for us.