Today is going to be a great day because guess what… it’s 420! In Vancouver, the 420 festivities have been happening for over two decades. It’s a huge event with a market, music, guest speakers, and of course, lots and lots of weed. Needless to say that because of the public health orders, this did not happen in the last two years. But today, for the first time since before the pandemic, the cannabis community can party together.
However, there’s one person who won’t be coming to the session and his presence will surely be missed. Every year at Vancouver 420, the public enjoyed the MC stylings of Greg Williams, aka marijuana man. In February, he sadly succumbed to cancer. A well-liked and respected cannabis activist, he left behind a legacy that won’t soon be forgotten.
Today is 420, a day we connect, celebrate cannabis, and smoke it with each other; There has never been a better day to pay respect to the activists that have made the party possible. Here’s a tribute to one of them, Greg ‘Marijuana Man’ Williams.
If you have ever been to a 420 Vancouver event downtown, you likely watched Marijuana Man emcee the show. Of all those who could be chosen, why did event producers pick Greg? First and foremost, he was good at it! With his chill demeanor, he was easily likable, both on and off stage. Secondly, the guy had a wealth of knowledge, especially when it came to plant genetics. But third and most importantly, he was a prominent grassroots activist and had personally risked his life for the cause.
From selling seeds to cannabis activism
Greg Williams was politically active in the fight for cannabis rights but in the beginning, that was not his intention. All he really wanted was to make cannabis genetics available, especially when it came to variety. In 1996, he ran the Seed Desk at Cannabis Culture Headquarters, on Vancouver’s downtown eastside. Over the years, he sold millions of cannabis seeds in a wide array of different strains. A great source of knowledge, Greg was always open to chatting and sharing tips with local growers. When it came to mail orders, Greg provided written instructions and shipped seeds all across Canada and the US.
Michelle Rainey, Greg Williams and Marc Emery
In 2005, Greg Williams, Marc Emery, and the late Michelle Rainey were arrested for selling cannabis seeds. Initially, each of them faced life sentences. Thankfully, Greg Williams and Michelle Rainey were given probation; Marc Emery received a five-year prison term.
Who was Greg ‘Marijuana Man’ Williams?
To some police, he was a menace but to others, a cannabis activist. For growers back in the late 90s, he was a phenomenal source of information on cannabis plant genetics and a great seed supplier. But most importantly, for the cannabis community as a whole, Marijuana Man was a gift. After all, what better word describes a person willing to risk himself for others.
Some people think that celebrating 420 is really just about getting high as a kite. For lots of stoners, that is basically the sum of the day’s activities. However, the party isn’t about that. 420 is a celebration of cannabis and the fallen heroes who brought it to us. It’s a time to honor the people who faced penalties for making cannabis accessible. Without their efforts, the party would never be possible. We honor our fallen heroes by setting fire to their favorite herb. This year, we honor Greg. As Vancouver gathers for the first time in years, they will feel the absence of their beloved emcee. Greg ‘Marijuana Man’ Williams might not be there in person, but his spirit will likely float by for a toke. Let’s roll up something tasty and make sure it’s a good one.