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Controversy over 4/20 rally permit roils on


  • Miranda Nelson /
On Nov. 17, a hearing officer denied the appeal of 4/20 event organizer and activist Miguel Lopez. The ruling upheld Denver Parks and Recreation’s finding that the chaotic celebration of the annual weed holiday in Denver’s Civic Center Park violated the terms of its permit as it relates to noise, trash, security, health and street closure .

Upon the denial, Lopez, who has been running the event since 2014, was hit with more than $12,000 in penalties and damages, a ban on applying for any event permit for three years and a revocation of his “priority status” for a permit on April 20 at Civic Center Park every year.

Thus, the permit was open for the taking. According to reporting by Denverite and Westword, employees with “boutique” dispensary chain Eurflora started waiting outside the Wellington Webb building in late October, before the appeal decision even came down. They had hoped being early and eager would give them first dibs, but instead, at 7 a.m. on Nov. 21, they were blindsided by a last-minute newcomer. Michael “Smokey” Ortiz reportedly beat them to the permit counter by mere steps and then mimed a toke in their direction as a celebratory taunt.

Denverite wrote that Ortiz is a friend of Lopez and was seen high-fiving Lopez’s event manager on his way out of the building. Meanwhile, activist lawyer Rob Corry, who represents Lopez, told the Cannabist the rally is his trademark and he’ll continue the fight for his client to retain the permit.

Indeed, Corry registered “420 rally” as a trade name with the Colorado Secretary of State in May of this year, but no iteration of the name came up in a search of the federal trademark database.

“We own that, we invented the 420 rally,” he told the Cannabist. “It’s us or nobody.”

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