Crowds (and clouds) roll in for annual 4/20 smoke-in at Denver’s Civic Center

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Crowds (and clouds) roll in for annual 4/20 smoke-in at Denver’s Civic Center

Post by notsofasteddie » Fri 21st Apr 2017 04:41 pm

Crowds (and clouds) roll in for annual 4/20 smoke-in at Denver’s Civic Center

Celebrants traveled from as far as Texas, Missouri, Minnesota and Philadelphia for the rally

By Danika Worthington, The Denver Post
Published: Apr 20, 2017

DENVER, CO - APRIL 20:

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Jose Alcala, of Denver supports his marijuana tie-dye shirt during the 4/20 event at Civic Center Park on April 20, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

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Adam Solto, of La Veta, takes a hit as he relaxes in the sun during the 4/20 event at Civic Center Park on April 20, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

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Marijuana themed clothing is popular during the 4/20 event at Civic Center Park on April 20, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

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DENVER, CO - APRIL 20: Dustin Creasy, of Denver, takes a hit during the 4/20 event at Civic Center Park on April 20, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
(Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)


Hours before 4:20 p.m. — the moment at which a cloud of smoke would rise above Civic Center Thursday afternoon — lines persisted down West Colfax Avenue as hundreds of people waited to enter the annual 4/20 event that has evolved from a quick and simple protest rally into a full-fledged festival.

Rain sent some of the rally goers scattering in the early afternoon but the pot-enthusiasts returned to the booths and concert area once it subsided. People in the security lines stood sheltered by big umbrellas and rain ponchos.

With Bob Marley and Wiz Khalifa booming and the smell of weed wafting, people who had passed through security checkpoints meandered through vendors, which ranged from the corporates, such as Uber, to the bong sellers. Some participants were from Denver while others traveled from Texas, Missouri, Minnesota and Philadelphia for the rally.

“It’s a peaceful day to get your mind off all the nonsense that’s going on in the world,” Paulette Cordova said, a 59-year-old breast cancer survivor wearing marijuana-themed socks and a Cheech and Chong “Up in Smoke” T-shirt.

The Denver native had tent and chair on the lawn. Though she said she’s used marijuana since she was 13 — as an alternative to liquor and harder drugs — last year was the first time she attended the event.



Some people weary of waiting in the slow-moving lines to get to the festival grounds pushed down fencing on the east side of Civic Center, allowing about 100 people to rush into the park. Others scaled the 6-foot chain-link barrier, although police sent at least one man back out of the park the way he entered it.

A police spokeswoman said she didn’t have information on arrests as of 1 p.m.

As of 2 p.m., the Department of Excise and Licenses had cited two people for handing out flyers for Euflora and Kinds Meds, which violates marijuana advertising laws, spokesman Dan Rowland said. At least 10 booths and food trucks have been closed for reasons ranging from health hazards to lacking an operating license.

This year’s rally has the potential to be both a celebration and a political rally. There has been plenty to light up to as Colorado’s marijuana industry is booming, pot legalization is spreading across the U.S. and Canada, and public support is at an all-time high. But at the same time, the White House has brought back hostility to legal marijuana.

Denver’s annual 4/20 rally has grown over the years. In 2006, about 2,000 people — mostly teenagers and 20-somethings — gathered in Civic Center Park to light up at the stroke of 4:20 p.m. This year, tens of thousands of people are expected to roll into the park. Additionally, there are 250 vendor booths and rapper 2 Chainz is scheduled for a free concert from 2-6 p.m.


360 video from Civic Center:

Although the rally has been largely positive throughout the years, it did have a dark spot in 2013, when three people were shot after an argument unfolded between rival gang members.

The origins of “420” have been clouded, some claiming the term references a police code for marijuana possession. But recent consensus attributes it to a group of high school students who regularly met after school at 4:20 p.m. to smoke a joint.


thecannabist

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

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Re: Crowds (and clouds) roll in for annual 4/20 smoke-in at Denver’s Civic Center

Post by notsofasteddie » Sun 23rd Apr 2017 01:51 am

Denver 4/20 in the Trump era: Marijuana celebration or political rally?

Annual pro-marijuana rally could spur activism in era of Donald Trump


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A cloud of smoke covers the crowd at 4:20 PM at the Annual Denver 4/20 Rally in Civic Center Park.

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Kristen Aaland dons her event glasses as thousands gather at Civic Center Park in Denver for the annual 4/20 Pot Rally

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Garrett Kramer smokes marijuana during the 4/20 event on Norlin Quad at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., Tuesday, April 20, 2010.

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Malia Knapp of Denver, center, is celebrating Denver 4/20 Rally with her friends at Civic Center Park in Denver, Colo., on Friday, April 20, 2012. Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

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Colorado University Senior Gabriel Kuettel is arrested trespassing on the Norlin Quad that is closed to crackdown on pro-marijuana protesters at the school in Boulder, Colorado, Friday, April 20, 2012.

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Colorado University Boulder students and protesters get to the first line of defense at the closed the Norlin Quad on it's campus to crackdown on pro-marijuana protesters at the school in Boulder, Colorado, Friday, April 20, 2012.

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Colorado University Boulder campus is closed to all but students. The Norlin Quad on the campus is closed to crackdown on pro-marijuana protesters at the school in Boulder, Colorado, Friday, April 20, 2012.

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A cloud of smoke rises up above the crowd at the annual 4/20 rally in Civic Center in downtown Denver on Friday, April 20, 2012. Hundreds turned out for the annual day celebrating marijuana.

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Amy McBain of Evergreen, left, and Kim Logsdon of Denver celebrate 4/20 at Civic Center Park in Denver. A crowd of marijuana smokers gathered at the park to mark the counterculture holiday known as 4/20 on the first celebration since Colorado and Washington made pot legal for recreation use.

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The annual 420 Rally at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver April 20, 2013.

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Hundreds of people lit up joints, bongs, pipes and marijuana cigarettes at exactly 4:20 pm during the Colorado 420 Rally at Civic Center Park in Denver, Co on April 20, 2014. Thousands of people lit up and smoked marijuana to celebrate the now legal use of marijuana in the state of Colorado.

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The smoke out at the 4/20 celebration at the Denver 4/20 Rally in Civic Center Park April 20, 2014.

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By John Ingold and Alicia Wallace The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: April 19, 2017

There was a time — before the vendor booths, before the concerts with famous headliners, before the documentary crews and before the cannabis tour groups — when 4/20 in Denver meant a simple protest rally.

Eleven years ago, only a couple thousand people gathered in Civic Center park for the annual marijuana smokeout in defiance of state and federal laws. The rally planned for Thursday could hardly look different — 250 vendor booths, tens of thousands expected to attend and the rapper 2 Chainz scheduled to perform.

But organizers also hope that this year, especially, will bring a renewed commitment to activism.

“The rally is by definition a coming together for the common good,” said Miguel Lopez, who holds the permit for the rally and has been its most vocal advocate for years. “But we can’t be that effective if we’re not engaging a little more.”

Even by the standards of marijuana festivals, these are strange days.

On one side of the law, Colorado’s marijuana industry is booming, more states and countries are legalizing, and public support has never been stronger. On the other side, the new administration in the White House has signaled a hostility toward legal marijuana and a desire to do something to blunt its rise, meaning that legalization supporters could soon face their greatest challenge yet.

And that leaves Lopez and others in the marijuana movement with something of a problem this time around. Should they view the pot-smoker’s holiday as a chance to show strength? Or should they lie relatively low in the hopes of not attracting unwanted attention that could spur a crackdown?

“I think both sides are going to get something out of the 4/20 rallies,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and an expert on marijuana policy.

For the cannabis movement, Hudak said rallygoers may decide to emphasize the event’s political roots and tap into the broader protests against President Donald Trump.

“This resistance movement that has really taken off … is something that’s really going to motivate a lot of people to come out and make this a pretty significantly sized rally,” Hudak said.

For anti-marijuana groups, the 4/20 rallies will probably provide an opportunity to criticize the excesses of marijuana legalization.

“It’s something that the (U.S.) attorney general can point to and say, ‘Look at this, the state can’t even control public use,'” Hudak said.

Both approaches could have their drawbacks. Talk of a crackdown could be confronted by the sheer number of people at the rally, demonstrating just how much money and energy the federal government would have to spend to push back against legalization. Meanwhile, a raucous rally could undermine the mainstream credibility that marijuana supporters have tried to build over the past several years.

This is a tightrope that the cannabis industry is particularly familiar with. While individual stores and product companies have embraced the glamour of 4/20, the National Cannabis Industry Association, one of the industry’s lobbying groups, has traditionally shied away from the events, even as it has expressed support for marijuana consumers. Taylor West, the NCIA’s deputy director, spoke of the 4/20 events as similar to the Great American Beer Festival in producing both positive and negative images.

“In the larger context of 4/20, it’s always been a little bit of a mix, and I think it will be the same this year,” West said. “There will be some things that come out that maybe aren’t as good for the image of responsible use. But there will also be a tremendous amount of political activism.”

West said the NCIA prefers to save its own major activism push until May, when it holds annual lobbying events in Washington, D.C.

Lopez, too, said Denver 4/20 rally might not be the best place for marijuana supporters to fight the feds. For those who wish to battle Washington, Lopez had another suggestion: an annual Fourth of July “smoke-in” at the White House that he helps organize.

This year’s 4/20 rally in Denver, meanwhile, will mark the launch of a new group he is calling 420 Revolution. The group will be focused on local issues and on trying to strip away social stigma around cannabis use by encouraging one-on-one conversations in the community, Lopez said.

“I don’t see us particularly focusing on Trump,” he said. “We would be focusing more on a self-pride issue and on self-preservation as a group.”


denverpost

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