Pubdate: Mon, 21 Apr 2014
Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press (TN)
Copyright: 2014 The Associated Press
Note: Paper does not publish LTE's outside its circulation area
Author: Sadie Gurman, The Associated Press
Page: A5
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Popular)


DENVER (AP) - Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and 
vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a 
defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground 
celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in 
the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The 4: 20 p. m. smokeout in the shadow of the Colorado Capitol was 
the capstone of an Easter weekend dedicated to cannabis in states 
across the country. Although it is still against the law to publicly 
smoke marijuana in Colorado, police reported only 63 citations or 
arrests on Sunday, 47 for marijuana consumption.

"It feels good not to be persecuted anymore," said Joe Garramone, 
exultantly smoking a joint while his 3-year-old daughter played on a 
vast lawn crowded with fellow smokers.

The Garramone family came from Hawaii, among the tens of thousands 
who crowded into various cannabis themed extravaganzas, from a 
marijuana industry expo called the Cannabis Cup at a trade center 
north of downtown to 4/20-themed concerts at the legendary Red Rocks 
Amphitheater. Acts included Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg.

At 4: 20 p. m., an enormous plume of marijuana smoke wafted into the 
sky above downtown Denver as rapper B.o.B. belted out his song 
"Strange Clouds," with the hook: "And all we do is light it up, all 
night/All you see is strange clouds/ Strange clouds, strange clouds."

The Civic Center Park event is the most visible sign of the pot 
holiday's transformation. It started as a defiant gathering of 
marijuana activists, but this year the event has an official city 
permit, is organized by an events management company and featured 
booths selling funnel cakes and Greek food next to kiosks hawking 
hemp lollipops and glass pipes.

Gavin Beldt, one of the organizers, said in a statement that the 
event is now a "celebration of legal status for its use in Colorado 
and our launch of an exciting new experience for those attending."

Denver is just one of many cities across the country where 4/20 
marijuana celebrations were planned Sunday.

In Trenton, N.J., speakers urged a crowd of about 150 gathered at the 
statehouse to push state and federal lawmakers to legalize or 
decriminalize marijuana and called on Gov. Chris Christie to do what 
he can to help medical marijuana patients. Among those at the rally 
was Jawara McIntosh, the youngest son of noted reggae musician and 
pro-marijuana activist Peter Tosh.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom