Yes, folks, the dope-smoking HIPPIE has returned from its societal graveyard to menace our land. Perhaps you thought this anarchy-promoting villain had died a merciful death in the ’70’s, along with tie-died t-shirts, bell-bottom jeans, communes, peace, love and flower power.

But here they return in a classic PostMedia headline.  Ripped from the dusty cobwebbed vaults of yesteryear.

Keep the hippies off the grass. Find them a proper venue and give them a permit already.

When it comes to riling up the readers of PostMedia’s Vancouver Sun newspaper, it looks like a return to these happy journalistic memories for Matt Robinson.  It’s sure to induce a suburb-wide wonderful glow of nostalgia and a cozily familiar frenzy of pearl-clutching, tut-tutting and sharp intakes of breath.

Here’s two photos from the 2016 event.

4.20.Event.April.2016.3_resize

For those interested, here’s a report from the GM of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation (March 1, 2017) on the permit application from the Vancouver 420 Events Society for the April 20, 2017 event at Sunset Park.  It’s dull as day-old dishwater, of course, with no warning of the insidious resurrection of HIPPIES.  There is mention of Park Board bylaw problems (yawn):  smoking in the park, selling stuff.   Plus concern for health, safety and so on.

While both groups acknowledge the challenging aspects associated with the 420 celebration and protest, they also recognize that the event will occur regardless.  Further, with the impending federal legalization of marijuana, there is recognition that in the foreseeable future, the 420 initiative will likely shift from being a protest to a legal celebration. . . .

.  .  .   CONCLUSION Staff are aware that the 420 celebratory and protest event will be occurring at Sunset Beach Park regardless of whether the Park Board approves the special event permit and by-law exemption that has been requested by the organizers.  As such, the Working Group and Steering Committee continues to refine operational plans that are informed by past learnings.  While taking a provisional approach may provide more mechanisms to regulate the event, staff will use whatever tools are available to ensure that public health and safety is the first priority and that impacts to the park and local community are mitigated to the greatest extent possible.

Personally, I see the recent 420 events as a shrinking protest or celebration, and a growing marketing event at which proto-businesses vie to create and elevate their consumer brands in the impending post-legalization marketplace.  There are major fortunes waiting out there for those who make it to the top of the heap brand-wise.  Not to mention behind-the-scenes business opportunities (see below).

Brands getting major visual space in 2016 included:  The One Stop Shop, Dirty’s 100% Organic, Dab City, Mary Jane’s, CCHQ (Cannabis Culture Headquarters:  “head”, get it?), CannaBliss.

Behind-the-scenes businesses are moving right along:

Invest In Cannabis  (articles on Marijuana ETF’s, US Sales figures, VC-backing opportunities, and so on)

Hill and Gertner Capital Corp::  a merchant bank with design and brand experience, and active involvement in rising brand Tokyo Smoke. A fascinating read.

Is a Dot.Bong Bubble In the Air?:  warns the Globe and Mail about marijuana industry investors, and the usual scam companies:

The hype surrounding this new sector has seen junior mining companies rebrand as medical marijuana firms almost overnight. Amid a flurry of press releases from companies touting future production, stock regulators in Canada and the United States took the unusual step of warning investors to tread carefully around medical marijuana stocks, fearing a bubble is forming and that stock manipulations among small companies on venture exchanges and over-the-counter markets may be taking place.

To round out the breadth of the scene:

From Global News:   The cannabis industry is sparking an interest among investors.

Connor Cruise, CEO of Brassneck Capital Corp., invested in a licensed cannabis company and helped take it public.

“There’s a lot of upside to this,” he said, adding spin-off industries could also thrive as Canada cultivates its pot industry and the government moves to legalize marijuana for recreational use.

“Everything from lighting to fertilizers to technology companies,” he explained. “A lot of larger companies haven’t touched this space because it’s been a grey or black market. But now with it getting legalized, you’re going to see more of that come into it and I think that’s great.”

Marijuana growing companies are also proving to be a safer bet than some more traditional resource investments.

“If you take a look at the stock markets, oil has gone down, but all the marijuana stock have held steady .. last six months,” said Justin Dhaliwal.

For those interested in social satire, here’s a free idea.  A piece on the total corporatization of a future 420 Event — sort of a Car Show or Boat Show or Home Show for the cannabis industry. Imagine the hilarious dislocation and conflict between the marketing crowd (grinning cubicle drones) and the hard-core pot underground holdouts.  Hours of fun.

Oh yes, and a chance to put HIPPIES on display again.