While there will be plenty of puffing in Denver today, there will also be plenty of police officers on patrol. Consuming cannabis in public is still illegal in Colorado and carries a misdemeanor citation (or worse, if you’re under 21), but one local attorney is offering free legal representation for those who disagree.
Rob Corry was a fixture of the Denver 420 Rally at Civic Center Park before the City of Denver handed the event permit to new management. The Mile High lawyer has represented hundreds of cannabis advocates, industry members and users as Colorado transitioned into a legal weed state, but he wants to do pro bono work, too, extending his services free of charge to any person cited or arrested in Denver on April 20 for alleged public consumption of cannabis.
Call it holiday spirit, but Corry has been providing the 4/20 offer for nearly a decade. He says around fifty people have taken him up on it over the years, and notes that none of his 4/20 clients who have gone to trial have been convicted. Equating it to lawyers offering free taxi rides on New Year's Eve or St. Patrick's Day, Corry says he's standing up for voters' constitutional rights — even if those rights are in conflict with the language of Amendment 64, which bans open and public cannabis consumption.
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"No jury in Denver is going to actually convict anyone. It's 4/20, it's our holiday, and we helped create this," Corry explains. "It's kind of absurd that they hand out a ticket for someone at a cannabis rally for consuming cannabis in a state that has chosen to legalize it."
There are a few stipulations to Corry’s offer: You must be at least 21 or have a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana, can't be charged with any violent or any non-consumption-related crimes, must plead not guilty at arraignment and pay a $25 jury fee. "It's always been about the people," Corry says of 4/20. "If people go to Civic Center Park, exercise their constitutional rights and have a smile on their faces while they do it, then that's a good thing."
The Denver Police Department issued 32 citations for public cannabis consumption during the Denver 420 Rally at Civic Center last year, but did not release how many citations were issued citywide. Although it's now dubbed a festival instead of a rally under new organizers at Euflora, the Civic Center event and the dozens of other 4/20 parties going on will still do so under the watchful eyes of the DPD, so toke responsibly.
And if you don't, give Corry a call.