420 Festival descends on downtown Denver on Wednesday | Local News
On Wednesday, the Denver-area cannabis industry will celebrate like it’s 2019.
Although the pandemic has stifled the city’s April 20 rally for the past two years, it returns Wednesday with live music, beer service and dozens of vendor tents at Civic Center Park.
Festival 420, sponsored by Euflora and approximately 17 other companies in the cannabis industry, will run from noon to 8 p.m., with live music starting at 4 p.m.
There will also be tents from the Colorado Department of Transportation and the AAA.
“As the largest gathering of cannabis consumers in Colorado, CDOT and AAA Colorado will be there to educate attendees about the dangers of drunk driving,” according to a press release.
Street closures for the event include Bannock Street, between 13th and 14th Avenues, and 14th Avenue, between Cherokee Street and Broadway. Organizers estimate that up to 30,000 people will attend the festival.
“It’s a big deal,” said Scott Rybicki, owner of Euflora. “We believe Mayor (Michael B.) Hancock should make April 20 a holiday. We were the first city in the world to legalize recreational use, and just look at all the tax revenue it’s brought in since then.
For those unaware, “420” is slang in cannabis culture for “time to consume”. And while public cannabis use has always been illegal, many would openly use at the Civic Center on April 20 and a visible haze would hang over the park — especially at 4:20 p.m.
Rybicki said the company decided to hold the festival to prevent illegal consumption.
But they still receive complaints from anti-cannabis supporters that the event is not age-restricted and “promotes public consumption.”
One Chance to Grow Up, a nonprofit advocacy group, will promote protective measures to prevent underage cannabis use, and officials at Denver Charter School 5280 are planning a press conference on Tuesday “calling on Denver’s 420 Festival sponsors to limit attendance to those 21 or older, aligning with the minimum age for legal recreational marijuana use,” according to a press release. serves 125 students in addiction recovery.
“The corporate sponsors of the event have no idea if children are registering at 420 because the organizers have not set a minimum age for their event or their free ticket registration process”, Henny Lasley, co-founder and executive director of One Chance to Grow Up, said in an email. “And, because registrants submit their email addresses, the marijuana industry has also collected personal information about all children who have visited the site. Unless the marijuana industry deletes every email address e-mail collected at this event, each new marketing campaign from these companies will target children.
Euflora officials point to the event’s website, which states that all ages are allowed, but “we recommend leaving young children at home.”
It also says, “The public consumption of marijuana is prohibited by Colorado state law. It is also illegal to possess more than one ounce of marijuana or its equivalent in marijuana products under the law. of the State of Colorado. Anyone caught distributing marijuana or using illegal substances at the event will be turned over to local authorities.”
“We wanted to provide a safer event for all attendees,” said Ashley Chubin, chief operating officer of FlyHi, a cannabis delivery company that works with Euflora. “We’ve spent over $125,000 on metal detectors and private security personnel of about 120 people, in addition to what the Denver police will have there.”
“We do not condone marketing to children under 21,” Chubin said. “And we certainly don’t condone under-21 drinking.”
Beer areas will be fenced off, with only 21 and over allowed. VIP tickets are for ages 21 and up only. And all exhibitors must keep marketing materials inside a tent and only allow those 21 and older inside, Chubin said. Marketing materials must be bagged and given only to age verified entrants.
“We have been advised by our attorneys that if this is a free event at the park, it must be for all ages,” Chubin said.
Although free tickets are available, they are not mandatory. Rather, it’s a method of controlling crowd size and notifying attendees of schedule changes or other event information, she said.
Denver Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Cyndi Karvaski said “public meeting” permits should be for all ages and city parks should be open to everyone. Former gathering organizers obtained this type of public assembly permit (or were supposed to), she said.
But for the special event permit Euflora got, it would have only taken 21+, Karvaski said.
“Our thought process was that if we didn’t have an event, 10,000 to 20,000 would show up anyway — and they would be of all ages,” Rybicki said.
He said there was a double standard with alcohol marketing and public events.
“You can’t even take your kids to a baseball game without being surrounded by alcohol advertisements. Heck, it’s called Coors Field,” he said.
“We want to focus on positivity, especially coming out of COVID,” Chubin said. “We want to bring celebration to the community in a safe and great way.”