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4/20 Rally Organizers Not Surprised About Civic Center Park Ban

By Dillon Thomas

DENVER (CBS4) - The City of Denver has banned the organizer of the annual Denver 4/20 rally after citing several violations at the 2017 event.

The city told CBS4 a similar rally could still take place in the coming years at Civic Center Park. However, it would have to be conducted by another applicant.

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Miguel Lopez, the rally's former priority event status holder, said he learned his rally had been banned for three years after receiving a call from CBS4.

After reading the official notice, Lopez felt it was politically motivated.

(credit: CBS)

"Not being the mayor's political bootlickers, or cohorts, we are not surprised (to be banned)," Lopez said.

Denver's Parks and Recreation Department told CBS4 they emailed Lopez the document, which highlighted a long list of violations, while assessing more than $12,000 in fines.

Parks and Recreation Executive Director Happy Haynes said Lopez's staff neglected to provide the amount of trash cans and security guards they agreed to, as long lines formed.

420 marijuana trash
(credit: RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Haynes added many food vendors had health hazards while serving at the rally.

Lopez claimed the event was well managed, unlike previous events.

"There was no organization (in previous years). There was no security. There was no fencing, checking people," Lopez said.

Civic Center Park trash
(credit: CBS)

Several noise complaints were also filed, according to Haynes. One came from Judge Elizabeth Leith, who claimed she sent home staff after the courthouse's walls and windows were vibrating from bass.

"We were in compliance with the noise ordinance. We did not get a phone call complaint," Lopez said.

Lopez told CBS4's Dillon Thomas he disagreed with the entire list of reasons why his group would be banned.

Civic Center Park trash
(credit: CBS)

Lopez said he would file an appeal to the ban in the 15 days he was given, and would fight the ruling by "all means necessary."

"Even if it means political protest again. We will be a force to be reckoned with," Lopez said.

The Parks and Recreation Department was not available for comment. However, the city entity issued the following statement:

"Trash management, public safety and security along with other relevant event impacts were reviewed for compliance," said Cyndi Karvaski, spokesperson for the department.

(credit: CBS)

"After a thorough review of the event, substantial violations of city requirements were found," Haynes said. "We will continue to ensure that events in our parks are safe, compliant and of high quality, and we remain focused on protecting Denver's parks and facilities which are valuable assets to our city and our residents."

Lopez told CBS4, if the appeal was denied, he had options. He said his options included events in neighboring cities, and possibly even other states.

Additional Information From Denver Parks and Recreation

Events held in Denver Parks are subject to compliance with permit requirements, as well as, the DPR Public Event Policy to safeguard the community and Denver's parks and open spaces. The permit holder has the right to appeal within 15-days of the notice.

LINK: Rebuttal From The 4/20 Rally

Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.

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