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Denver’s annual 4/20 event is another success

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By Rogelio Rael

The world’s first permitted and world’s largest 420 rally and protest was held Wednesday at Civic Center Park in Denver as part of an annual celebration.

The fourteenth annual event has become a tradition and serves as a multi purpose event offering educational material on marijuana laws in Colorado and global topics that range from global warming to familiarization with hemp products.

The gathering brings together many diverse members of the marijuana community to peacefully protest drug prohibition.  This year’s theme for the event is “No Colors No Violence”.

Smoke fills the air of Denver's Civic Center on 4/20. Photo by Rogelio Rael.

The rally is an opportunity for the community to share knowledge and celebrate the culture of the marijuana movement. Rallies in the past have consisted of a mixture lineup of experts on medical marijuana and advocate speakers, musical artists, a fashion shows, and Native American culture.

This year’s musical line up consisted of local groups with a variety of music ranging from hip-hop artists such as Hypnautic and Top Flyte Productions. Retail booths were on site selling printed material and medical marijuana and edibles such as brownies and cookies.

Caregivers such as Nature’s Prescription based out of Wheat Ridge, Colorado were also on hand to help raise money for the John Eitel Foundation benefiting community scholarships right here in Colorado.

“We had a great turn out this year and as care givers we not only tend to patients needs for medical marijuana, we establish a more personal relationship with out clients and what better way then to be part of this great rally that we have been apart of since the beginning,” said Chuck Wharton co-owner. “Our efforts really paid off we collected a sizeable amount of donations to help a worthy cause”, added Wharton.

“The Denver 420 Rally has become a tradition that draws over 50,000 people annually”, said Tiny Martinez one of this years event organizers. “Denver is known for having a large number of supporters and lobbyist for the medical marijuana movement,” said Martinez.

Medical marijuana is attributed to saving the life of one of this years guest speakers. “Medical marijuana literally saved the life”, said guest speaker Richard Eastman. 

Eastman has become a respected advocate for medical marijuana and a key player in the medical marijuana campaign in Hollywood and Los Angeles, CA.

While living with AIDS Eastman discovered that marijuana allowed him the ability to suppress nausea, enabling him to keep food and medicine down that were vital for his survival.  

Since the discovery Eastman has become active in traveling the Nation advocating for medical marijuana.

In Washington, D.C. Eastman advocated on behalf of the United States Medical Marijuana Rally prior to the Ogden Memo that announced a bill that would begin prosecuting legal unambiguous usage of medical marijuana that would not be a priority for federal funds. 

John Pylka, has been a leader in the cannabis legalization movement for over 25 years.  Since 1983 he has been the events coordinator s responsible for of the longest running annual drug policy reform rally in the world, the DC Smoke-In. 

The Smoke-In is held every of July 4th on the east side of the Lincoln Memorial since 1970 as founder of the Fourth of July Hemp Coalition, which is the non-profit committee that oversees the Washington D.C Smoke-in.

John has also played a role in the legalization of medical marijuana in Washington, DC.  Initially passed in 1998 and then blocked by congress.

After a lengthy legal battle, medical marijuana was finally passed in 2010 and is undergoing a regulatory process by the State of Colorado. 

Pylka was also named Freedom Fighter of the Month in High Times magazine in 1994.

Wednesday’s event in Denver was definitely bigger this year because of record crowd numbers and it fell on the eve of a major national pot conference in Denver.

This weekend’s conference is drawing most Denver mayoral candidates including Colorado’s Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat who is in favor legalization of marijuana.