Monday, May 19, 2014
HAPPY 420 IN REVIEW by Citizen Jay Daily
I know it’s a bit late, but happy 4/20 from the Mile High! April in Denver was chock full of amazing events culminating in the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup—America’s Cup! Why is it called “America’s Cup?” Because it is the only fully LEGAL cannabis celebration anywhere and people come from all over America (and the World) to attend. And man, did they come!
The cannabis festivities began on the 15th with a huge welcome to Denver party put on by the good folks at Top Shelf Extracts and EWOK Glass. The event was held at the cozy Quixote’s True Blue. There was a fantastic DJ and light show and plenty of dabs provided by TSE. Spoiled debuted their new e-nail while people coming to town for the trade shows and revelries met and mingled.
The BIG Industry Show and Galleria directly preceded the High Times Cannabis Cup. Both events were held at the same location—the Denver Merchandise Mart. The BIG Industry Show comprised two days of the best of everything the cannabis and smoke shop industries have to offer all under one roof. It’s like the Big-Top Circus of trade shows. Imagine a headshop as big as CostCo…
The Denver Merchandise Mart is one of the largest venues available for rent in the metro area. After last year’s Cup, management at High Times decided they needed a more functional space to hold the event. They correctly anticipated a much larger crowd for 2014 with the advent of full on adult-use sales in Denver.
As it turns out, they correctly anticipated another bump in the road too. The Denver City Council with pressure from Mayor Hancock’s office and Governor Hickenlooper began implementing a series of strong rules geared towards preventing public cannabis events within the city. As a result, events like the three-year-running monthly MMJ Meet and Greet were suddenly deemed “public consumption” and outlawed by the city. Likewise, a joint amateur growing and edibles contest sponsored by Incredibles and THC Magazine was cancelled after city officials made it clear the event would be deemed “public consumption.” The much-anticipated DABROOTS Festival, sponsored by GrassRoots Clothing, was visited by police several times. Police showed up at events like these and threatened to harass people, ticket them, or arrest them.
But holding the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup at the Denver Merchandise Mart stymied the city’s efforts due to one simple fact. The Denver Merchandise Mart is technically NOT in Denver! It’s in unincorporated Adams County. And the good folks in that government aren’t as hell bent on The Reefer Madness as our own Mayor and our Governor seem to be.
The Cup was not the only highly anticipated happenings in Denver on the 20th. The Annual 420 Rally took place as always down at Civic Center Park between the City and State Capital Buildings. What set this year’s rally apart was again a response from the city. The city tried to deny a permit for the rally due to last year’s (still as of yet unsolved) shooting and the expectation that public consumption would again take place at the designated time. They were right in that respect, at least. In addition, the city demanded that the organizers place placards around the park and otherwise remind attendees that public consumption of cannabis is illegal. The organizers had no contention with this, since technically it has never been legal to smoke cannabis at the 420 Rally. The event was fenced in and entry was strictly controlled to keep underage people and guns out of the park. In addition, a large number of police, park rangers, and armed private security guards patrolled the grounds. They were not only in the crowds but also placed on rooftops around the park and on an erected tower within the center of the park. Guards atop the tower looked down on the park grounds with binoculars spying on the crowds hoping to find those intrepid enough to dare to light up. To say this was uncomfortable is quite the understatement. Despite the added security measures, thousands of people still came down to join in the demonstration.
The traditional cloud of smoke could be seen proudly and boldly erupting from the huge crowd at 4:20 pm as the people in attendance chose to exercise their State Constitutional Rights. While a small, if not over-vocal, group of Coloradoans bemoaned the moment as an embarrassment, the majority of Colorado’s voters were proud to put reason and liberty into action. Our media and politicians alike should best remember where the voters of this state—and soon many others—stand on this issue, eh? I find it outrageously ironic that the city smugly invited the folks from Coors Beer to sell their wares at the 420 Rally. While no one was allowed to light up, the city is quick to encourage patrons to drink themselves silly.
And so the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup—America’s Cup—and the 420 Rally both went on without a hitch! The weekend was full of contemplative merriment. Over 40,000 people were estimated in attendance at both events and through all of that no one was seriously hurt and no police incidents were reported within either venue. Approximately 100 citations were given by police that day downtown and a few were also given out in the areas immediately surrounding the Denver Merchandise Mart. But other than these few incidents of municipal money rustling the cannabis celebrations in Denver were a complete success!
The Cannabis Community in Colorado is trying to set the right example for the rest of the nation and the world. Consumption of cannabis is not a bad or embarrassing thing. The reintroduction of cannabis into our collective consciousness as something other than the malevolent boogie man it has been made out to be by an overzealous propaganda machine is one of our main goals. While we’re constantly fighting even within our own borders to stamp out the hysterical madness that seems to envelop public officials concerning cannabis, our resolve will not diminish.
Next year, the 420 Rally will be even larger and the Cannabis Cup will be even more epic. We’re looking forward to it without any fear. The prohibitionists continue to gather their strength in anticipation of what will be their ultimate demise—that knowledge will set us free. They tried to shut us down this year, but we prevailed. As more people awaken to the true horrors that prohibition has birthed, our mortification at what their profit-mongering has so harshly imposed on so many will overtake their petty embarrassment at our enjoyment of nature’s bounty.