Cannabis enthusiasts flock to annual rally

Fifty thousand people celebrated Denver’s annual 4/20 rally at Civic Center park, proving that this year’s smoke out was another hit for event organizers.

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Colorado transplants Andrew Motts and Josh Vest kick back on the lawn of Civic Center park during the 4/20 event on April 20. Photo by Lauren Cordova • scordo22@msudenver.edu

“Colorado currently holds the largest open range cannabis music festival with headlining performances and entertainment,” said Santino Walter, one of the new owners of Civic Center productions, which organizes the event.

Over the past couple years, the 420 Rally at Civic Center Park has grown immensely. Growing acceptance of legal marijuana use is reflected through the increased number of new and old residents
using marijuana.

A majority of the growth is attributed toward how friendly and accessible the event is to the public. There is no entrance fee to the event. A total of 250 vendors and sponsors with multiple food trucks were present. In addition, several vendors and sponsors provided information booths for leading products in Colorado’s cannabis market. Musical artist 2 Chainz lead a countdown to 4:20 p.m.

“This year we expect as many as 50,000 to 80,000 people at 4/20,” said Daniel Garza, part owner of Civic Center Productions.

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Colorado native Anthony Edwards smoking from his large pipe while waiting in line to enter the 4/20 event on April 20. Photo by Lauren Cordova • scordo22@msudenver.edu

Colorado’s natives have roots in cannabis culture, dating back to early 4/20 rallies in 2008. One prominent figure in Colorado’s cannabis history is Miguel Lopez, who is deemed as one of the major
historical figures behind the festival and is now chief organizer for the festival. Under his leadership, maintaining Civic Center Park after 4/20 is also a priority.

Although attendance increases every year, Lopez emphasizes that organizers never stop learning how to manage a safe and successful event. One of the production team’s top priorities is creating and managing a safe atmosphere for people to use and consume marijuana. Civic center productions pays Denver Health to provide health and safety resources at the event.

As chief organizer, Lopez says that large events such as the 4/20 rally are a chance to celebrate together as a community.

“Light up communally as a ceremony, it’s what people do to celebrate,” Lopez said.

In collaboration with Civic Center Productions, Lopez and the City of Denver take safety as a primary concern. While users smoke marijuana recreationally on Civic Center Park, grounds security and police officers made their presence known to ensure users were having fun consuming and not abusing substances.

Next year, Civic Center Productions plans to add more perks and vendors to continue promoting Colorado’s cannabis market and economy.

Author: Karson Hallaway

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