An attendee at London's 4/20 event in Victoria Park lights up a joint, April 20, 2017. (Photo by Miranda Chant)

Rain Doesn’t Dampen 4/20 In London (GALLERY)

Heavy rain didn’t keep pot enthusiasts from attending Thursday’s 4/20 event in London, which was held one week after the federal government introduced legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in Canada.

Despite wet and rainy conditions, around 30 marijuana supporters attended the event at Victoria Park to spark up a joint at 4:20pm.

“It’s not just dirty hippies that use cannabis,” said Eric Shepperd, the organizer of London’s 4/20, “There are people of walks of life that are involved here — business people, academics, lawyers, doctors, all sorts of different people use it for both medical and recreational uses.”

One of the 4/20 attendees, Jen Burnell-Dieleman, said she was was prescribed medical marijuana to treat an illness back in 2014.

“Before [that] I was completely against it, I thought it was bad for you. And then I got really sick — I found out I had a brain tumor and I lost about 100 lbs in two months,” she said.

Burnell-Dieleman said once she started smoking marijuana it helped her to regain the weight and feel healthier.

“I don’t feel sick, it lets me eat, it lets me go out, I can drive my car, I haven’t had a seizure in four years. I’ve been fine,” she said, adding that the experience made her realize that pot can really help people who need it.

Shepperd said the newly tabled legislation, which would make it even easier for someone like Burnell-Dieleman to obtain marijuana, is definitely a step in the right direction.

“We are looking forward to seeing some progress on this matter, which is long overdue,” said Shepperd. “There are certain regulations that need to be altered and amendments need to be made in order to make sure this is the right legislation for Canada.”

The new legislation would allow those 18 and up to publicly possess up to 30 g of dried cannabis, or its equivalent in non-dried form. Shepperd said he’s concerned about how regulations will penalize marijuana smokers for driving while high, or those who sell pot to minors.

“Those regulations are not likely to have the desired effect. If anything, they’re just going to send relatively innocent people to jail and alienate young people,” he said.

While over policing marijuana is a concern, Shepperd said he was pleased to seek a lack of police presence in the park during 4/20 again this year.

“This is our second year now of not having zero tolerance enforced, which is a welcome change,” he said. “The London Police Service certainly seems to have seen reason in that matter.”

With marijuana legalization around the corner, Shepperd said he hopes 4/20 will soon become a larger community event.

“We are planning on making this into a music event, a cultural event so London’s can come and experience [it],” he said.