These ladies happily take a snap shot with Benny the Bong during the 4/20 event at Yonge and Dundas Square.

Toronto 4/20 gathering pushes for reform of cannabis laws

Toronto Marijuana smokers joined their comrades worldwide to celebrate 4/20 Day at Yonge and Dundas Square Saturday.

The April 20 celebration of cannabis culture this year also took on a political tone with recent victories in Washington and Colorado amplifying calls in Canada to liberalize drug laws here.

“We want Members of Parliament to proceed with the taxation and regulation of cannabis in Canada,” said Sarah Sunday, a representative of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Women’s Alliance of Canada.  

NORML, one of the largest cannabis reform organizations, has a world wide presence. It’s been working to change marijuana laws since 1970.  

“Today is the day that we’re speaking out to the average marijuana smoker [and to] raise awareness and support the legalization of weed,” said Sunday.

Sunday maintains there is no valid reason to keep locking people up for recreational use and simple possession.

“There’s a lot of money spent on prohibition and a lot of police time spent on a relatively meaningless activity. Look at all the people being jailed for marijuana. I could imagine the system being a lot better if the police spent their time on more serious crimes like rapes or murders,” Sunday said.

According to police reports from Statistics Canada in 2011; marijuana offences soared 81 percent from 1992 to 2002. The great increase came from possession charges. www.statcan.gc.ca

Tracy Curley of SKUNK Magazine believes that legalization of marijuana will improve the economy.

“From an economic standpoint legalization makes sense. Just look at what taxation and regulation would do; marijuana is already part of our economy but that money should be going to the government,” Curley said.