DENVER (CBS4) – Denver’s 4/20 rally may run into some problems this year, but the city hasn’t made any official decision to shut it down.
After getting a letter from an attorney for the rally organizers that says people will smoke in Civic Center Park on April 20, they are reconsidering issuing the permit.
For years marijuana supporters have rallied in Civic Center Park on April 20. They get a permit from the city and hundreds, if not more, show up to celebrate the unofficial weed holiday with little pushback from police.
“Several of us on council wanted to know and to ask the question to our Police Chief (Robert) White what they were going to do and how they were going to handle it,” Councilman Charlie Brown said. “He answered it, and he said it’s going to be different than last year.”
Rally organizers say it was that discussion by Brown that prompted them to have their attorney Robert Corry go to the city.
“He was threatening an increased police crackdown, which has never happened, even in the past when marijuana was not legalized,” Corry said. “So we wanted to clear the air with the City and County of Denver and explain to them what our interpretation of the law is.”
In a five-page letter, Corry details the plans for the event and the likelihood that participants would be lighting up.
“The truth is that marijuana will be smoked in Civic Center Park on April 20,” he said.
Corry says with a permit they can smoke freely, despite a law that says it’s not allowed in public.
“Our point is that if you have a permit for an event, then you are the entity that controls the property on that day,” Corry said. “So we, under Amendment 64, can decide whether or not to allow marijuana at our event.”
“He certainly can have his own interpretation. I think he will lose on that interpretation,” Brown said.
Brown says that’s not the way the law works and the letter may have threatened the event all together.
“This could be a game changer. Now we have something to go on in terms of denying them the permit,” Brown said. “Because they blatantly said they were going to disregard our law.”
The city says they received the letter and they’re analyzing whether it affects any of their duties as a city.
The city will have the final say on whether or not the permit is issued and how enforcement is handled. If they do disagree with Corry the issue could end up in court.