In Colorado, a pot holiday tries to go mainstream

"Nationwide, it'll be decriminalized," he predicted, "and we'll be doing this in every state."
Associated Press
Apr 20, 2014

 

Once the province of activists and stoners, the traditional pot holiday of April 20 has gone mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

Tens of thousands gathered for a weekend of Colorado cannabis-themed festivals and entertainment, from a marijuana industry expo called the Cannabis Cup at a trade center north of downtown, to 4/20-themed concerts at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater — acts include Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dog — to a massive festival in the shadow of the state capitol where clouds of cannabis smoke are expected to waft at 4:20 p.m. MDT Sunday.

The festival in Denver's Civic Center Park is the most visible sign of the transformation. It started as a defiant gathering of marijuana activists, but this year the event has an official city permit, is organized by an events management company and featured booths selling funnel cakes and Greek food next to kiosks hawking hemp lollipops and glass pipes.

Gavin Beldt, one of the organizers, said in a statement that the event is now a "celebration of legal status for its use in Colorado and our launch of an exciting new experience for those attending. "

On Saturday, the first day of the two-day festival, only a few people lingered on the steps of a Roman-style amphitheater where marijuana activists spoke angrily about bans on the drug in other states. Thousands instead lingered on the park's broad lawns, listening to hip-hop music blasting from the sound stage and enjoying the fresh, albeit marijuana-scented, air.

"It's a lot mellower this year," said Cody Andrews, 29, of Denver. "It's more of a venue now. More vendor-y."

Last year's event was marred by a shooting that wounded three and is still unsolved. This year a fence rings the park, armored security guards roamed the grounds and all entrants were patted down for weapons. There was also tension earlier in the year when some organizers wanted to officially sanction the 4:20 pm Sunday smokeout, but the city noted that public consumption of marijuana is still illegal in Colorado. By Saturday night, Denver police said they had issued at least 17 citations for public pot smoking.

Still, participants expect to light up on Sunday, which happens to also be Easter Sunday. Plenty weren't waiting until 4/20 proper. On Saturday, Jairin Genung, 25, of Aurora, sat on the grass with friends, including one who was carefully rolling a thick joint.

"We're going to light up no matter what," Genung said. "If you can't smoke at the 4/20 rally, it just doesn't make sense."

The whole scene was wonderfully surreal for Bud Long, 49, from Kalamazoo, Mich., who recalled taking part in his first 4/20 protest in 1984.

"Nationwide, it'll be decriminalized," he predicted, "and we'll be doing this in every state."

Comments

thinkagain

I told you a person addicted to marijuana will suffer impaired brain function… and distorted thinking (read comments below for examples).

Donegan

One would think a person so religiously devout would be with their family and spreading the good news on Easter instead of blogging on a local paper. Unless of course you have ran off all of your family because of incessant nagging about religion and how to live the good life.

Nemesis

Bearing false witness against your neighbors again?

Your hypocrissy is astounding.

mikeylikesit

i agree with thinkagain!

puddin95

+ 1

From the Grave

Like I've said, you have to think the first time to be able to thinkagain.

mikeylikesit

i cant say i really ever agree with thinkagain, (also known as fred phelps). must be all that weed frying my mind..

WaterStreetCooncat

Isn't Willie Nelson gonna do a show there? And if now, why not?

WeThePeople1965

Anybody else notice this was posted at 4:20 p.m.?

OMG.LOL.WT_

Don't eat the cookies.
A college student visiting Denver jumped to his death from a hotel balcony after eating marijuana-infused cookies, according to a coroner's report that marks the first time authorities have publicly linked a death to marijuana since legal sales of recreational cannabis began in Colorado.

Read more: Denver coroner: Man fell to death after eating marijuana cookies - The Denver Post

Donegan

If people would mind their own business and leave others alone laws such as this would not exist. Instead we have a bunch of busy bodies trying to preach to others about how to live.
"A man is likely to mind his own business when it is worth minding. When it is not, he takes his mind off his own meaningless affairs by minding other people's business"

Truth or Dare

Distort the mind, or enhance it? Tell that to the parents of children, let alone adults that suffer from violent epileptic seizures who are actually moving to Colorado so they may be legally treated with the oil, helping immensely in preventing those seizures and making it possible to live a normal life. What 1 drop of oil under the tongue can do for them, they consider a medical miracle! Who am I to judge their intentions?

It's rather sanctimonious of our own Federal government as well. While they're striving to keep it illegal, threatening banks dealing w/those that run dispensaries, they've set up rules and regulations within the IRS to deal with the huge cash flow! How hypocritical can ya get?!