The fifth annual 4/20 cannabis celebration-slash legalization demonstration commenced in front of Alþingi at Austurvöllur square today at, um, 16:20. An estimated group of 150 gathered to smoke joints, rip bongs and hit pipes while a group of police officers stood by and watched.
One of the event’s organizers, Örvar Geir Geirsson, told the Grapevine “We’ve seen growth from year to year, in the people that show up, and it keeps getting more liberal and more beautiful.” When asked about the presence of the police he answered “The police usually show up, since we’ve done this in cooperation with the city council and the police — we’ve told them about this. Last year they went a little overboard and stopped us, but now they obviously have different orders, since they are letting us be as long as we are peaceful.”
The police did apprehend two men at the event, one of whom looked underage (and apparently goes by the street name “Ganja,” causing mild panic when someone yelled out “The police took away Ganja!”) and another that might have gone a little to far in pleading young Ganja’s case to the authorities (exclaiming “Why don’t you arrest me for this, then?” is almost never a good idea).
When asked what meaning this day holds to him, Örvar responded “Freedom. Personal freedom and nothing else. I don’t see anything wrong with lighting up a joint in the streets, just like someone can drink a beer in the streets. I’m not hurting anyone, causing danger or damage.”
In fact, freedom seemed to be a common theme with the protesters, with Júlíus Örn Fjeldsted telling the Grapevine “I wan’t to be the master of my domain. It’s not the government’s job to tell me what I can and can’t do to myself. Personally, and people might find this extreme, I don’t think the type of narcotic matters — it’s not the government’s to ban them. They can tax it to take care of the health bill, but it should be the choice of the individual. I’m free and I make my own decisions.”
Can the individual ever be free? Is there such a thing as free will? Is it possible to get high from second hand smoke? Things to ponder as you LOOK AT THE PHOTOS: