4/20 rally in Denver: To legalize or not to legalize... wait, what is the question?
You walk into Civic Center Park, and immediately you smell it. Happy 4/20, everybody. You keep walking, slowly at first, like a teen at his first day of high school. Where to go first? There are so many people -- some smoking joints, some peddling hand-outs, all wearing the symbol of a marijuana leaf, or at least the color green, somewhere on their bodies. It's like St. Patrick's Day all over again, except Patrick now goes by the name Mary Jane.
As you weave your way through the crowd of people, the vendors and the puffs of smoke, you can feel it cover your clothes. Then your hair. Now there's even a film developing on the screen of your cell phone. Yes, this is it -- the place where Denver's marijuana users gather together, put aside their differences and light up.
Even hours later, the smell of Purple Kush still lingers on your fingers. Not a bad way to spend your day, or your afternoon, or a few hours after work.
Some attendees of yesterday's 4/20 celebration arrived shortly after they woke up -- call it a "wake and take and bake" -- while others came in just before the clock struck 4:20 p.m. Regardless, they all had something to be excited about.
Even Willie Nelson stuck around -- well, a cardboard cut-out of him, anyway -- at the booth for the newly and legally recognized Rocky Mountain chapter of Nelson's national Teapot Party, which is fighting for personal cannabis usage rights here in Colorado.
"I think the community needs to be aware that marijuana has always been around; it's about time we look at legalization," says Kimberly Matteo, a self-described master herbalist and naturopath. Matteo greeted people at the Teapot Party booth, then offered to take their picture with the Nelson cut-out.
"I think what's important is to get the message around the state, create little nuclei of groups that are passionate about legalization in 2012, so that we can make sure that we can finally get it done in the state," Matteo says, with a pot full of optimism.