| Events |

Mile High 420 Fest Will Return to Civic Center in 2019, but Who's Organizing It?

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

Preparations are under way for another 4/20 celebration at Civic Center Park in 2019.  According to the Denver Department of Parks and Recreation, a public-event application under the name Mile High 420 Fest at Civic Center has been filed for Saturday, April 20, 2019, but the identity of the event's organizer is unclear.

It's the only application the department has received for Civic Center on April 20. If approved, this would be the second annual Mile High 420 Fest.

The 2018 420 Fest was organized by Euflora, a Denver-area dispensary chain that gained rights to the event permit after a months-long battle between Euflora, former 420 Rally organizers and the City of Denver. But while the applicant for 2019's 420 Fest has ties to Euflora, the dispensary chain says that it isn't involved with the event.

Osiris Marketing Management LLC is the name of the entity applying for the event, which plans to host around 65,000 people to "celebrate cannabis legalization in Colorado," according to the application. Documents at the Colorado Secretary of State's Office show that Osiris Marketing Management LLC was founded by Ryan Wimpee, Euflora's in-house attorney, on October 29, just three days before the city began accepting public-event applications for 2019.

Wimpee says he represents several clients as well as Euflora, but declines to comment further.

According to Euflora marketing director Lindsay Hanna, Euflora isn't involved with the Mile High 420 Fest, but she, too, declines to say more.

One thing is clear: Someone is planning to host a large party at Civic Center on April 20, 2019, in honor of the unofficial cannabis holiday. According to the application, Osiris plans to have food and beverage vendors (including alcohol sales), booths selling goods and other items, and live music and other entertainment — and as in past years, the event doesn't plan to charge admission. Absent in the application is any mention of public pot smoking.

The inaugural Mile High 420 Fest featured performances by Lil Wayne, Lil Jon and the Original Wailers, with plenty of non-sanctioned toking going on around the stages. Over seventy citations related to cannabis were handed out at Civic Center on April 20, 2018, according to the Denver Police Department.

For a decade, the Denver 420 Rally had the event permit for Civic Center Park on April 20; Miguel Lopez was the main organizer of the festivities. The 2017 edition, though, attracted criticism from city officials and the public alike, with photos and reports of long security lines, broken fences and overflowing trash cans surfacing shortly after the rally ended.

Attorney Rob Corry and Denver 420 Rally co-founder Miguel Lopez.
Attorney Rob Corry and Denver 420 Rally co-founder Miguel Lopez.
Photo by Michael Roberts

One month later, Mayor Michael Hancock's office banned 420 Rally organizers from applying for an event permit for three years, citing poor trash management and noise, as well as public safety and security violations. Lopez and his attorney, Rob Corry, appealed the ban in September 2017 but eventually lost.

In the midst of all this, Euflora, an unhappy co-sponsor of the 2017 420 Rally, sent employees to camp outside the Parks and Rec building in an attempt to take control of the 2018 permit. In a race to the application counter shortly after midnight on November 1, 2017, the Euflora group was beaten out by Michael Ortiz, but Ortiz was later found to have a connection to Lopez, and Parks and Rec denied his application.

Last December, Lopez sued the City of Denver for banning him from organizing the event, but Euflora held on to the permit and held the first annual Mile High 420 Festival in Civic Center Park on April 20, 2018. The word "rally" and other political references were absent during the event.

Lopez didn't respond to requests for comment. Corry says he no longer represents Lopez in his lawsuit against the city.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.