Photos: Denver 4/20 rally to be a two-day affair
Ever disappointed that 4/20 only comes once a year? Then Miguel Lopez, organizer of Denver's annual 4/20 rally, has good news for you. Because April 20 falls on a Friday this year, the rally has been expanded to two days, with a full slate of happenings scheduled to take place on Saturday, April 21, as well. Lopez has been busy working out logistics, which this year included a meeting with assorted city officials, including folks from the Denver Police Department.
Big photos below.
According to Lopez, he received what he describes as a "forceful" letter from officials of the Michael Hancock administration. However, he sees the resulting meeting with DPD types, several city attorneys and a number of management-level mayoral representatives as a positive development.
"Former Mayor Hickenlooper never actually engaged with us or gave us the respect to have a dialogue with us," he says. And while Hancock reps "were questioning whether this was a rally or a festival," he was able to explain that "our primary function is political messaging. And we want to have a positive message."
Indeed, Lopez pointed out that "we address the crowd and ask them not to say, 'F the police.' It's something we just don't want people to do, because they're there protecting our constitutional rights and tolerating our peaceful disobedience. They've done that for the last five years since we've had an official permit, so we don't feel that's appropriate."
Upon mentioning this policy, Lopez says that newly appointed Deputy Chief of Police David Quinones "got out of his chair and gave me a handshake."
Deputy police chief David Quinones.
Not that Lopez and speakers have ruled out criticism of public officials. His press release about the rally, on view below, emphasizes disagreements with a slew of cannabis-related public policies, including seizure-threat letters sent to 23 dispensaries by U.S. Attorney John Walsh earlier this year.
As for the potential of attendee arrests, Lopez doesn't expect any -- and if ticketing does take place, attorneys Rob Corry and Travis Simpson have pledged to represent those cited.
The schedule of activities is still being finalized, but legendary rapper Too $hort will perform on Friday, as well as at a pre-party on April 19 at Casselman's Bar & Venue. (Casselman's will also host a cannabis-related film festival April 16-18, Lopez reveals.) And on Saturday, Lopez notes that awards and the like will be handed out to local activists. [Update, March 7, 11:27 a.m.: The original version of this post quoted Lopez as saying that High Times's Danny Danko would be speaking on Saturday. Moments ago, Danko contacted us to say he has no plans to appear.]
Still, Lopez emphasizes that "this is a political assembly. Nowhere else in the world is there one like this of its size."