Mile High 420 Festival Returning to Denver in 2024 | Westword

Mile High 420 Festival Returning Under Same Organizers in 2024

Like last year, the festival will be free to the public, but with an age limit.
The Mile High 4/20 Festival will take place at Civic Center Park on Saturday, April 20, according to organizers.
The Mile High 4/20 Festival will take place at Civic Center Park on Saturday, April 20, according to organizers. Jacqueline Collins
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The Mile High 420 Festival is returning to Denver's Civic Center Park this year, organizers of the event confirm.

For nearly three decades, a marijuana-friendly celebration has taken place at Civic Center on or near April 20 to mark 4/20, an unofficial cannabis holiday now observed around the world. The event transitioned from a political rally to a free concert and vendor space in the late 2000s, as first medical marijuana and then recreational marijuana became legal, but the pot-friendly attitude has been a constant, attracting thousands of visitors to the park every year.

JARS Cannabis, a Michigan-based dispensary chain that owns the rights to Denver's largest 4/20 festival, has reapplied for an event permit at Civic Center Park for 4/20 and plans to hold a day-long festival there on Saturday, April 20, according to the company and the festival's website.

The company confirmed plans to return to Civic Center this April to Westword, but did not elaborate further. No concert lineup been shared yet by JARS, but the show has been heavy on hip-hop in the past. Headliners in recent years have included 2 Chainz, Big Boi, Tommy Chong, Lil Jon, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, T.I. and Waka Flocka Flame.
click to enlarge Tommy Chong smokes a joint on stage at the Denver 4/20 festival
Tommy Chong smokes a joint on stage during the 2023 Mile High 420 Festival at Civic Center Park in Denver.
Jacqueline Collins
As in past years, general admission into the festival is free; VIP passes will again be available for sale, according to the festival website.

After receiving requests from parents and youth drug-prevention groups, in 2023 JARS enforced an age limit for the first time in the festival's history. The age limit will return this year, according to JARS. And so will the festival's alcohol policy, which allows for festival-goers to purchase and drink booze, but only in designated fenced-off areas.

JARS acquired the right to the 4/20 event permit in 2022 by purchasing Euflora, a Colorado dispensary chain that hosted the festival before being bought by JARS. Because JARS held the festival at Civic Center last year on April 20, it receives priority for a permit there in 2024, according to Denver Parks & Recreation policy.

A freeze on new event permit applications was just implemented as part of the city's cuts from the Parks & Rec budget. Parks & Rec did not respond to an inquiry into JARS's application status, but tickets to the event went on sale four days ago, according to the 420 Fest Instagram page.

Local and state laws ban public events from allowing marijuana use, and Civic Center Park is city-owned property, which makes it off-limits for any form of pot consumption or hospitality. Despite the law and Denver government's public stance against unlicensed social marijuana use, though, city and law enforcement officials have mostly turned a blind eye to attendees smoking weed within the festival grounds on 4/20.

The festival's current pot policy is similar to last year's, restating Colorado state law on public marijuana use and warning that "anyone caught distributing marijuana or using any illegal substances" at the event "may be removed from the event by local authorities." For the past two years, however, there have been zero citations for public pot consumption, despite plenty of smoking taking place in the crowd and on stage by performers.
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