Strange but True Marijuana Stories of 2016

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Many of the issues that dominated local headlines in 2015, including homelessness, the rising cost of housing and a steady influx of transplants, continued to be hot topics this year. But from an unpredictable, insane election to the media frenzy over the twentieth anniversary of JonBenét Ramsey’s death, 2016 threw out plenty of curveballs. Keep reading for strange but true stories from the past year that once again prove that truth is definitely stranger than fiction.

This year’s 4/20 rally in Civic Center Park was smaller than rallies in recent years, probably because there wasn’t a musical headliner. But that didn’t stop cops from issuing citations — more than last year, in fact. Among those who met with the DPD’s wrath was a man handing out water and snacks without a vendor’s license. Meanwhile, videos surfaced of people taking hits from bongs the size of their arms. But, you know, priorities.

An odd story from 2015 came to a close this year. A teacher at Monarch High School in Louisville who’d been accused of giving his students edibles during rides he gave them to and from off-campus lunches pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drug count in October. One of Brian Edward du Fresne’s students had also admitted to smoking pot with him.

Jared Howard could be the worst friend on the planet. In June, Colorado State Patrol troopers caught the 23-year-old Texas college student with a car full of marijuana. Howard waived his right to an attorney and agreed to help law enforcement nail his compatriots, who were supposed to help him move the weed back to Texas. He then persuaded Rafael Villegas-Perez, 20, and Stephen Martin-Emge, 23, to come to Colorado — at which point they were busted by the State Patrol, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.

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


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