Crime

Twice as Many Pot Citations Issued at This Year's 4/20 Than in 2017

Denver police officers largely observed during the Mile high 420 Festival on April 20, but 64 citations for public consumption were issued throughout the day.
Denver police officers largely observed during the Mile high 420 Festival on April 20, but 64 citations for public consumption were issued throughout the day. Brandon Marshall
Thousands of people lit up their joints, pipes, blunts and vaporizers at 4:20 p.m. on Friday, April 20, at Civic Center Park, taking a collective puff for the 4/20 holiday. All of them were breaking the law, but the decades-long demonstration has gotten too large for the Denver Police Department to ticket everyone who's smoking.

Still, a small number of unlucky cannabis users typically find themselves in legal trouble during the event. Twice as many revelers were ticketed at this year's 4/20 event at Civic Center than during 2017's rally.

According to the DPD, police officers handed out 72 citations and issued at least one felony charge for consumption during the Mile High 420 Fest at Civic Center, with 64 of those citations being for public cannabis consumption, a misdemeanor in Colorado for anyone 21 and older. There were also two misdemeanor citations for marijuana distribution, three driving citations and one traffic citation related to the event, as well as one citation each for misdemeanor theft and urinating in public.

Denver-based dispensary chain Euflora took over management of the event in 2018 after a publicized battle with the previous regime. Leading up to the event, Euflora representatives said consumption wouldn't be allowed, but judging by reports, photos and videos of Civic Center last Friday, it appears that security largely looked the other way. And so did DPD, for the most part: There were dozens of officers at Civic Center on 4/20, most of whom let attendees consume cannabis as they pleased.

DPD public information officer Christine Downs didn't have citywide numbers for public consumption on 4/20, but says the city contacted several venues it suspected were advertising pot consumption under the guise of holding a private event.

If any of those 64 people cited for public consumption want to fight their charges, a Denver attorney offers free representation to anyone issued a ticket on 4/20 every year.
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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