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Denver 4/20 rally 2014 preview: Peaceful message -- and pot-smoking citations?

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Photos and more below.
The 4/20 rally at Civic Center Park has been a Denver tradition since 1993. But the 2013 edition was cut short after a shooting that remains unsolved. And so, too, does the murder of 4/20 rally founder Ken Gorman, slain seven years ago today.

Current rally organizer Miguel Lopez underscores these points in a preview of the 2014 rally, which is likely to look different from its predecessors -- and may include citations for public pot smoking. Photos and more details below.

Our 2010 feature article about Ken Gorman describes the incident that led to his death like so:

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Ken Gorman, center, in 1994 -- a year after he founded the 4/20 rally.
When Ken Gorman heard the intruders burst through the front door, he sprang from his room and ran through the hallway toward the sounds of shuffling feet. He'd been robbed dozens of times before, always around the harvest, but that night he was equipped to fight back. Just a few days earlier, he'd told friends and family he would be ready for the next thief who tried to get away with his cache of high-grade marijuana, which he grew in his back-room nursery and sold to more than a hundred "patients."

But the sixty-year-old Gorman never reached his brand-new shotgun. The burglars beat him to the draw.

Gorman fell as the bullet ripped through his flesh and into his heart -- one clean, fatal shot -- leaving his tall, slender body sprawled in the living room of his Athmar Park duplex. Minutes later, a neighbor found Gorman's lifeless body and called police.

As Lopez points out in his 2014 rally update, seen below in its entirety, the gunmen left cash and marijuana behind after the shooting. In his words, "It is the explicit desire of the Denver 420 Rally to remind the marijuana community of the history of one of its founders. The Denver 420 Rally also strives to keep his memory alive and see his murderers brought to justice."

Despite Gorman's slaying, Lopez argues that his legacy survives, with the 4/20 rally being perhaps the most prominent example. During the early years of the event, attendees tended to number in the hundreds. But over time, thousands more joined them, inspiring the gathering to expand to multiple days. But last year, the Sunday, April 21 portion of the celebration was canceled after gunfire pierced the peaceful atmosphere the previous day.

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Photo by Brandon Marshall
In the aftermath of the April 20, 2013 shooting.
At around 5 p.m. on April 20, 2013, as we've reported, shots rang out in the park during a performance by hip-hop act Lil' Flip, causing the enormous throng to scatter. In the end, three people were wounded: Two were hit in the leg, while a third person was grazed by a bullet.

In the hours afterward, a person of interest was identified and photos were circulated. But this suspect was subsequently cleared, and to this date, no one has been charged in the shooting.

Lopez equates the unresolved nature of these events, suggesting that they epitomize the "level of priority" paid to crimes that victimize members of the marijuana community -- and "to add insult to injury, cops this year plan to write citations in spite of the $11,000 that the Denver 420 Rally paid for the permit. They don't write citations for The Taste of Denver, which also draws a wealthier crowd."

Continue for more about this year's 4/20 rally, including the complete release.



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20 comments
David Capell
David Capell

get hidden cameras people....very cheap these days

Kevin O'Brien
Kevin O'Brien

Back in 95 or so, my best friend had a brain tumor and we used to go pick up his "medicinal" from Ken. He was always a good guy. The world needs more people like him who stand up for what's right! And he rolled a mean doobie!

JimTom
JimTom

And again there will be no enforcement of the laws and regs just created by A64. Why would anyone follow the laws and regs associated with legal weed when the city and state let the law be blatantly broken with no enforcement. IT IS ILLEGAL TO SMOKE POT IN A PUBLIC PARK. Hey if everyone is just gong to ignore the law I have tax free weed, come and get it.  

Pheenix Wonder
Pheenix Wonder

ME too! was a great time, little sketchy, but look where it brought things, Blessed be Ken!

Mandy Duran
Mandy Duran

there is no connection... smoked some bubba made them overthink lmao....

Leah Ryan
Leah Ryan

I used to go to the Ken Gorman hemp rally's at the Capitol in the mid 90's. Great memories! I remember everyone "parading" around the block of the Capitol waiting for their turn to take a hot off of some monster Cheech and Chong sized joint.

Stan Salazar
Stan Salazar

Rap & Pot smoking = someone gonna get shot.

ItsTheBeesKnees
ItsTheBeesKnees

The cops generally leave everyone alone here. At the most, you are risking a public consumption ticket but the chances are very, very slim. Note to neck tattoo wearing white, black, and brown trash parents: Leave your kids at home this year, I had a bunch of you morons standing in front on me last year with your toddler kids inhaling mad herb smoke from the crowd....the park is adult friendly at these things but not kid friendly. The other 364 days a year, this park is home to heroin addicts, ex-cons, gang members, and the homeless. 

Michael Ulibarri
Michael Ulibarri

It's a celebration at this point, not a rally. Bring extra pens.

Tim Strodtman
Tim Strodtman

I'm all for the rally, it just needs to be a private event. 21 and over to get in. We need to set the example for the rest of the country!

Travis Santoro
Travis Santoro

In my opinion cops helped cause last years shooting by not showing any presence. I am sure in fear of a picture of someone hanging over a cop smoking. What is the big deal? Events allow people to drink down there.

Mimisaurus Rex
Mimisaurus Rex

There is no reason for a protest when we got what we wanted. Baha silly people.

SwingVoter
SwingVoter

Member of the silent minority here...you know, the non-smokers that voted yes on 64A.  We've had just about enough of you shit-heads (and we'll give you the benefit of the doubt by acknowledging it's not ALL of you).  You should be cited for smoking in public, and we'd applaud vigorous enforcement.  That's the deal you struck.  In Denver, all it takes to get rid of legal marijuana is 42,525 votes to switch to "no" and an even lesser margin statewide.  We're sick of it.

As for Gorman, do what normal people do and commission a plaque or statue.  Otherwise, quit your whining, pay your fines, and call your citation payment "a tribute to Ken Gorman."  Write it on the memo line of your check.  Or write "Pot-hole for Pot-holes" on it, and call it your civic duty.  Either way, pay up.

Blazar Seeda
Blazar Seeda

WHat's the point of having a rally? Weed it legal now.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Typical Petulant Puerile Pot Punks, give them an ounce and they'll try to steal a pound.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@SwingVoter  


Puerile Pot Punks are as Puerile Pot Punks do !!


Reap what ye sow, you petulant pukes!


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Cognitive_Dissident  ... enjoy the ever growing FIST of REGULATION begat by the Perpetually Puerile Performance of Petulant Pot Punks."

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