The Evolution of 4/20

In a lot of people’s minds, April 20th, or 4/20 has become synonymous with the fight to end cannabis prohibition. Across our country, people gather in celebration and solidarity to send a message to government – legalize the production, distribution and adult consumption of cannabis.

Cannabis was deemed illegal in Canada in 1923. That was the year cannabis was added to the list of controlled substances, along with opium, cocaine and morphine. 95 years later, we are finally seeing a real shift and putting an end to cannabis prohibition.

The path to legalization has been complex and convoluted and countless people have paved the path forward to get where we are today.

The messages conveyed at 4/20 events, and throughout the year, have resonated with our government leaders. This year, Canada will become the first advanced industrialized nation to legalize and regulate cannabis from production to consumption.

So, what does this mean for the future of 4/20 events in Canada? It means that perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate the purpose and meaning behind these events.

The current regime is still criminalizing thousands of Canadians and the hard work is far from over. The people who have been part of the grassroots movement to effect change and end prohibition are still on the battle lines. Many argue that in order for legalization to be a success, we need them to fight for the pieces that aren’t yet part of the puzzle. We need the grassroots community to continue to fight for change and shape policies related to things such as craft growing, edible products and safe public spaces for cannabis consumption.

And, perhaps most importantly, we need strong voices to protect the interest of patients after legalization. We need to ensure our governments and regulators continue to examine health outcomes and ensure the focus doesn’t shift entirely to the commercial recreational market.

As the Canadian government prepares to legalize non-medical cannabis, medical cannabis patients across the country hope that both the federal government and cannabis companies will continue to support their needs.

And, product quality needs to reign supreme. This month NICHE helped launch Cannabis Wise, Canada’s first national cannabis certification program designed to drive continual improvement in the cannabis industry. Our product quality certification program defines “craft” or “high quality” cannabis with specific scientifically determined markers.

Cannabis Wise has formed a product review panel and consumer guidance group responsible for assigning the Cannabis Wise seal of approval for products grown across Canada.

The seal will let Canadian consumers know with certainty that products not only meet Health Canada’s strict safety standards but are also produced with the highest grade of quality.

Designed to complement the existing regulatory federal system, Cannabis Wise certification indicates to the public which specific flowers have been grown, processed and cured to meet the traditional quality standards expected by the experienced consumer.


Cannabis Wise is part of the new future for cannabis in our country, and the made-in-Canada approach will include those that paved the path forward. We need their voices to continue the fight for patient rights and to ensure Canada gets it right.