Vancouver city council has approved a motion directing staff to review the legal options for recovering costs from the annual 4/20 event.

"Let's be clear, this is not a protest. They're selling space on city land," said Coun. Melissa De Genova, who introduced the original motion.

"They know what their costs are every year and they refuse to pay them."

But councillors rejected a number of other measures, including one that could have led to legal action against companies or individuals who participate in the event.

A motion on directing staff to communicate to residents the impact 4/20 has on Sunset Beach as well as having all special events held on public spaces must comply with permitting and pays the costs to obtain the event permit failed.

The event, which has been held at Sunset Beach for the past several years, drew criticism from some city councillors for its size.

But many of the councillors called for working proactively with the groups that run 4/20 to ensure a smoother process.

"I want to be clear that we don’t send a judgment signal or a stigmatization signal, that's not our role on city council," said Coun. Pete Fry.

Coun. Wiebe said he couldn't support the motion, and argued the city should instead look at why so many younger people flocked to the event.