Parliament Hill abuzz about pot legislation this 420

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Parliament Hill abuzz about pot legislation this 420

Thousands of people gathered on Parliament Hill Thursday afternoon, calling for the government to puff, puff, pass their bill to legalize marijuana.

It's the first 420, an annual celebration of cannabis culture, since the Liberals unveiled their plan for regulating marijuana last week.

CBC News spoke to some revellers about their thoughts on the legalization plan.

Anthony Jones said Canada is in a "grey area" when it comes to marijuana laws, but is hopeful legalization will allow people to feel safe about what's in their weed.

Jones said he's happy with the proposed laws, but said many of his friends are still concerned about getting into trouble.

"There's been a lot of different closures and seizures from different shops in Ottawa still," he said. "I'm just hoping that in the future, it'll go better."

He said today's protest was to put pressure on the government to pass the bill.

"So the government knows how serious we are about it, if anything, and how I am about it, personally, as a Canadian citizen. And I just want to make sure that they know they have everybody's support."

Joe Cousineau said he's impatient for marijuana legalization and calls the government's plan a step in the right direction.

"It's going to make a lot of people happy and it's going to keep people out of prisons when they should be filled with real criminals," Cousineau said.

"I know many friends that it ruined their lives. They could been something big and now that they have criminal [records], it put restrictions on their life. It's made their life a lot harder than it needs to be."

Susan Blois, a medical marijuana user, said she hopes there is some kind of pardon for people who are convicted before the law is changed.

"Hopefully they can work with them and not ruin lives," she said.

Her friend Lyne Atkinson, a recreational user, said she still has questions about taxation, law enforcement and impaired driving once marijuana is legal.

"I feel happy about it. I feel a little worried about it, even as a user. We can say all we want, when you're really honest with yourself: it does impair your driving. I'm totally for it, I'd like to see it legalized, but let's get real here, folks. It does impair your judgment, your time response and your safety overall."

Hazel Levin said she wouldn't advocate smoking marijuana for minors, even when it's legalized. 

"It's better to have stricter penalties on selling it to younger people. It's good for us adults, who want to be able to grow our own pot instead of having to pay overtaxed prices. Pot is not something that really makes people criminals in my opinion. It's really peaceful."

There will be one more 420 rally before the bill is expecting to come into effect July 1, 2018.