This scene was repeated around the park. All photos by the author.
Today, the 20th day of the fourth month of 2016, saw around 2000 people show up to Melbourne's Flagstaff Gardens to get high. The crowd featured a lot of teens and hagged bush doof types, with a noticeable lack of people in the middle. Also notable was the proliferation of bongs. Bongs were popular. Despite these judgments the sun was out, clouds of smoke wafted from cheerful people, and the police stayed in their cars.
To find out why people enjoy being stoned so much, and dedicate so much cultural bandwidth to celebrating it, we asked how they were feeling. Why is the feeling of being high worth fighting for?
Tyler, 20. "It's a comfortable happy feeling. Everything just stops mattering for a moment. I feel it in my head, more so with bongs. I love bongs. Also I think it's helped me a lot. I had a rough childhood and used to drink a lot. This definitely helps."
Jessie, 17 (on left): "I feel good but a little bit awkward. There are a lot of people here and it's my first time to something like this. Still, it's a lot better than the first time I tried weed. I threw up, fell over onto some stone pavers, then had to go to hospital."
Emily, 18: "I feel great. Much better than that story. Just really happy."
Sam, 16. "I feel really mellow, chill as. I like it the first time I tried it in Geelong. It was three years ago and I stayed out, slept in a bush. I thought I was dreaming and freaked out a bit, but then I liked it."
No one made a big deal of the goat. They were open minded.
This was the protest's centrepoint. A BBQ and a paraphenalia stand beneath a Moreton Bay fig.
This guy pashed a sheep.
Liam, 17. "I feel really relaxed. I find the fact it's not so bad for you quite reassuring. It's so much better for you than drinking and I really appreciate that."
Tyler, 20. "I feel connected to everyone and to everything that's around me. I like weed because it opens me up whereas other drugs close me down."
Something, something coolibah tree.
Seolhee, 25 (on left): "It feels so weird here because we don't have weed. Also it's very interesting because we wouldn't see this in Korea. We smoke, but not in public. This is our first experience like this."
Sumin, 21: I like this because we don't have marijuana but I think we can get some.