4/20 at Civic Center Park: Cops pledge greater presence, "discretion" with smokers

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Photo by Brandon Marshall
Police at Civic Center Park in the aftermath of last year's 4/20 shooting.
There'll be a lot of pressure on Denver police officers working this weekend's annual 4/20 event at Civic Center Park. Organizers have been asked to discourage public smoking even though lighting up at 4:20 p.m. on April 20 is arguably the gathering's most sacred tradition -- and security concerns are higher than ever given a still-unsolved shooting last year that resulted in one day's worth of festivities being canceled.

We asked Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson about these issues and how the department plans to approach them. Here's what he had to say.

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Marijuana: Recreational sales down, patient numbers and medical pot sales up

Categories: Marijuana

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It's been three-and-a-half months since the start of recreational cannabis sales in Colorado, but recent stats show that medical marijuana sales still far outpace recreational sales -- even with a patient base of fewer than 114,000 people.

Retail sales tax collected in the state in February for retail cannabis sales was about half that collected from medical sales, according to Colorado Department of Revenue data. Medical marijuana sales were somewhere around the $35 million mark, while retail sales totaled about $15 million.

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Update: See all 73 recreational marijuana shops Denver has licensed so far

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Big photos below.
It's not easy to keep up with all the recreational marijuana shops licensed by the City of Denver.

Our most recent update, published on April 3, featured 65 stores that have won the blessing of officials. Now, during the lead-up to the annual 4/20 festivities, the total has reached 73.

All the licensed shops are included here, along with photos, videos, links and excerpts from reviews of the ones visited by Westword marijuana critic William Breathes. Count them down below.

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Spice bust in Loveland puts focus on dangers of "synthetic marijuana"

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Big photos below.
Last September, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment issued an alert suggesting that spice, inaccurately but popularly known as synthetic marijuana, could well be more dangerous to kids than the real thing. Yet despite the January 1 start of recreational pot sales in Colorado, spice continues to be available -- although no longer at the Down Low Glass Detox in Loveland, where three people were busted and more than 700 grams of the stuff was seized, including spice packaged under the product name Scooby Snax. Photos and details below.

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Marijuana: Denver hotel searches for 4/20 weekend up 73 percent

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Graphic and more below.
As we've reported, State of Colorado and City of Denver tourist agencies have resisted the temptation to use marijuana as a way to lure visitors to the area, despite mainstream media pot coverage that's essentially free advertising.

Against that backdrop comes word that hotel searches for Denver on 4/20 weekend are up 73 percent from this time last year -- and a national cannabis activist thinks the digits might be even higher if officials weren't so shy about embracing weed.

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Liquor sales okayed during 4/20 event at Civic Center Park but public pot smoking illegal

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More photos below.
As we've reported, city officials expect organizers of this weekend's 4/20 event at Denver's Civic Center Park to actively discourage public pot smoking -- an activity that's illegal under Colorado law. However, liquor will be sold and can be consumed at the McNichols Building on the Civic Center complex during the festival.

Among those who sees this situation as contradictory is Miguel Lopez, the 4/20 weekend's organizer who applied for the right to sell beer in the first place.

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Photos: Top ten U.S. stoner cities -- and why Elite Daily says Denver isn't number one

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Big photos below.
We're accustomed to seeing Denver top marijuana-centric city lists. So we were definitely surprised to come across Elite Daily's "10 Best U.S. Cites For Stoners To Live In" and discover that while Denver was among the two Colorado communities to make the cut, and despite upcoming 4/20 activities drawing tourists from around the globe, it didn't rank first -- and the one that did (as well as another entry, too) isn't actually a city. Continue to count down the photo-illustrated list, featuring excerpts from Elite Daily text; click here to check out the original item.

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Cannabis Time Capsule, 1890: "True" tales of marijuana's horrors

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We're pretty sure that this story in the Silverton Standard from January of 1890 was meant to scare people.

But as is the case with a lot of these old pieces, they actually do a great job of selling us on the amazing effects of cannabis.

Even if they aren't exactly accurate.

A few things we learned from this informative piece:

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Recreational pot sales rejected in many towns, but advocate thinks most will come around

Categories: Marijuana

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Colorado's marijuana laws allow communities to decide whether or not to allow recreational sales. Votes on the topic have taken place in more than a dozen municipalities over the past couple of weeks, with a hefty percentage turning thumbs-down.

These results don't frustrate one prominent marijuana advocate charged with following them. She prefers focusing on the successes rather than the failures and thinks some cities and counties that have rejected pot sales will reverse course over time. But not all of them.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: The Purple Dragon in Denver

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One of the first dudes I ever got stoned with in high school was a super metal-head named Eric who was into Dungeons and Dragons, wizards, warlocks and Tolkein novels. His room at his mom's house, where we would smoke after school, was a tribute to all of these things, featuring black-light posters, Graffix skull bongs and and a collection of dragon statues and figurines. It's been twenty years, but I distinctly remember a large lavender-and-green beast breathing a plume of orange fire out of it's mouth.

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