Marijuana

4/20 Festival Returning to Civic Center...With an Age Limit

The Mile High 420 Festival will be under new leadership in 2023.
The Mile High 420 Festival will be under new leadership in 2023. Jacqueline Collins
Denver's annual 4/20 festival at Civic Center Park will return in 2023, according to its new organizers. But this year, the event will be for adults only.

April 20, or 4/20, is an unofficial marijuana holiday across the country, and Denver's yearly gathering at Civic Center Park has become one of the biggest unsanctioned smokeouts in the nation. The newest organizer of the festival, Michigan-based dispensary chain JARS Cannabis, posted a video on Instagram over the weekend confirming that the Mile High 420 Festival will return to Civic Center on Thursday, April 20.

"Hey everyone, we are back! Cannot wait to see all of you guys gathered at Civic Center Park to celebrate the best holiday of the year! We will have world renowned artists (lineup coming soon), Denver’s best food trucks, and vendors with clothing, smoking accessories, and so much more," the Instagram post reads.

Euflora, a Colorado dispensary chain, was the most recent permit holder for the Mile High 4/20 Fest. Euflora was purchased by JARS in 2022, though, and the 4/20 event permit was included in the deal.

A marijuana demonstration has been taking place on 4/20 (or on the weekend a few days before or after that date) at Civic Center for nearly three decades. The event transitioned to a free concert and vendor space in the late 2000s, with a handful of different planners and companies organizing the festival over the years — but unsanctioned marijuana use has always been a hallmark, no matter who organizes the event.

Although past 4/20 events at Civic Center had no age restrictions, parents and youth prevention groups requested that an age limit be added last year. According to Euflora, the request came in April, when it was too late to implement, but the company agreed to add an age limit to future festivals. And that will hold now that JARS is in charge: Admission will be limited to those 21 and above.

JARS didn't address the issue of marijuana use at the 4/20 event in a November interview with Westword or in the recent round of social media posts. However, unsanctioned pot use was a very open part of the celebration last year, and the Denver Police Department issued no public-consumption citations at Civic Center Park that day.

The Mile High 420 Fest website currently shows the same policy regarding use as it did last year: a reprint of public marijuana consumption laws in Colorado, which result in citations for public use or possession over 2 ounces.

Staying with tradition, general admission into the festival and concert will be free, with VIP tickets for sale as well. The musical lineup hasn't been announced yet, but JARS wants festival-goers to "keep an eye out for more big announcements."
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell

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