Jen Briand, left, Sukh Krishan, Darran Chaisson and Kim Blake, all part of the organizing committee for Port Festival coming up on April 20, hope the ‘smoke friendly’ festival celebrating cannabis will catch on in the city. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Alberni debuts Port Festival pot festival

4/20 event celebrating new cannabis laws thought to be first of its type on Vancouver Island

A new festival will celebrate the legalization of cannabis in Port Alberni this Sunday, April 20 from 2–6 p.m.

Originally named 4/20 Cannabis Festival, the renamed Port Festival will take place at Canal Waterfront Park.

“It was originally a 4/20 cannabis festival. In the middle of last month there was a law the NDP passed that you can’t advertise outdoor cannabis festivals,” said Sukh Krishan, who along with Jen Briand and seven other people has organized this festival.

The event will feature music from DJ Dbl G (Kingsway Pub patrons will know his work), food and craft vendors, and facepainting courtesy of Blue Fairy. Proceeds from table rentals by vendors will assist the Uptown Merchants Association and the Port Alberni Shelter Society.

Canna-coach Naomi Nicholson of Secluded Wellness Centre and Chims Guest House will be on hand to share information on medical cannabis and its properties. Organizers hope that people with hemp-based products will consider paying for a table too. Five-Acre Productions have donated use of its sound equipment for the event.

While some of the recently approved cannabis shops have been invited to bring information about their pending businesses to the festival, there won’t be any cannabis products for sale.

“It’s a smoke friendly event. Cannabis is legal so people are likely going to take part.”

The organizing committee has appropriate approvals from the City of Port Alberni, Krishan said, and have also informed the RCMP about their event.

They intend to make sure the park is cleaned up after the festival.

“We’re promoting ‘clean and green’. Our volunteers are all pitching in. We’ll be making announcements throughout about keeping the site clean,” he said.

Krishan, Briand and the rest of the committee would like to see this become an annual event in the Alberni Valley. “We hope to bring people from all over the Island to Port Alberni,” Krishan said. “I figure if we can lead in this area we will be the ones to attract people to Port Alberni”, and that accommodations will be busy and local businesses will benefit.

“I hope the community sees the value in having an event like this,” he said.

“We are the first on the Island, that I know of.”

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