Happy Flag Day, Canada! Feb. 15 marks the 20th anniversary of this observance. In honor of the occasion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released a statement calling on Canadians to take part in the government's "Share Your Moment with the Flag Challenge." So we thought we'd share cannabis culture's many irreverent moments with Canada's national banner.
Activists and protestors in the Great White North have long stood on guard for a different, unofficial Canadian flag. We're talking, of course, about the standard bearing a cannabis leaf instead of the maple leaf.
Here are seven things you should know know about the iconoclastic banner.
The origins of the flag are a mystery. It's been used in protests for years, featured in photos for newspapers and branded on shirts as well as mugs. But we're not sure who invented it. Indeed, we reached out to Craig Jones - Executive Director of NORML Canada - to ask if he knew the banner's origin story: "No idea!" he said.
2. Collector's item
3. Party flag
A different version of the flag in green is the official logo of Canada's Marijuana Party, a registered, federal political party founded in the year 2000. The single-issue party (guess which one) might become defunct when Prime Minister Trudeau fulfills his promise to legalize marijuana nationwide.
4. Local curiosity
The unofficial flag caused controversy in December 2009 when it flew alongside the official standard outside a motel in Niagara Falls, Ontario. According to the Niagara Falls Review, flying the flag isn't a crime, so concerned members of the community did not have a legal case against the motel located along Highway 420. Sadly, the Review didn't make the connection between the hotel and the highway.
5. International controversy
The contentious flag has also made headlines outside of Niagara Falls. In December 2011, The Guardian caused a stir by using the wrong red flag in an article. The piece - titled "Canada's multiculturalism is no model for Europe" - featured a flag flying the cannabis leaf instead of the maple.
6. There have been imitators
The cannabis standard isn't the only attempt to "marijuanify" a famous flag. Other marijuana riffs on national emblems include:
- the pro-cultivation "Don't Tread on Weed" banner, which puns on the "Gadsden Flag" from the American Revolution.
- a peaceful spin on the "Gonzalez Flag" used during the Texas Revolution;
- and this take on "Old Glory," which has far more leaves than America has states.
7. No, Justin Trudeau is not planning to swap flags
Contrary to reports you may have seen in your Facebook newsfeed, the Canadian prime minister is not going to replace the maple leaf with cannabis on the flag. The story appears to have originated in the site Hot Global News, which also claimed that Trudeau named his new kitten Kush.