Covering the mountain in a cloud of marijuana smoke
Published Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:28PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, April 20, 2017 6:42PM EDT
Several thousand marijuana enthusiasts lit up in unison on the slopes of Mount Royal Thursday afternoon in an annual protest in support of pot.
Similar 420 rallies -- the name supposedly comes from pot-smoking high school students who hung out with the Grateful Dead -- took place across Canada.
The smokers said they are looking forward to marijuana being legalized by the federal government, and despite arrests and raids still taking place, are not concerned.
"Marijuana is something that's not illegal to me, it's not something that's harmful to anybody," said Marilys Boutin. "I think it's great to just celebrate it and show the world and show people that it's a natural thing and it's not as bad as medicine, drugs and stuff that they sell at the drugstore."
Others said they are looking forward to regulations and ingredient listings, instead of having to trust a drug dealer.
"When it's legal you buy in a dispensary or something you know what you're buying, how many THC you have in it, everything," said William.
Montreal police watched Thursday's rally and made no arrests, although smoking and possessing marijuana remains illegal.
The federal bill will legalize marijuana for those over 18, but there are many regulations still to be worked out.
Production and distribution will be in the control of provincial governments, which will be free to increase the minimum age, restrict where it is sold, and more.
Quebec has pledged to work with Ontario to harmonize laws and regulations between the two most populous provinces.
But with substantial amounts of work to do, Quebec is not promising to meet the July 1, 2018 deadline for legal marijuana.
Meanwhile police and the SAAQ are working out how to test drivers who are impaired, and landlords are concerned about the effects of marijuana plants and smoke on buildings.