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4/20 Rally Organizers Want Permit For Larger Celebration

DENVER (CBS4) - Talks are underway to turn Denver's annual 4/20 marijuana rally into a large pot festival.

For nearly 30 years on April 20 at precisely 4:20 p.m. people light up within sight of the Capitol and City and County Building.

Organizers of the 4/20 rally are talking with city leaders about turning the annual smoke-out into more expansive licensed celebration of marijuana for 2015.

"The primary function of the rally is to focus on the federal prohibition of marijuana," 4/20 organizer Miguel Lopez said.

For the past several years tens of thousands have gathered under a Freedom of Assembly permit, not a much more expensive festival permit. But city councilman Charlie Brown, who once suggested that they pay like others, says no permit should be issued.

"I just don't think we should allow the smoking of marijuana in Civic Center (Park) because it is against the law," Brown said.

Colorado's constitutional amendment legalizing recreational pot specifically prohibits its use in public.

What's also clearly illegal is gunfire. This year's rally was marred by violence resulting in injuries and a black eye for the rally. But Lopez likens those like Brown, who oppose the annual event, to bigots.

"Bigot comes from intolerance, it comes from people who are fanatics," Lopez said.

He insists some are trying to overregulate the event, but Brown feels a permit could be issued if one condition is met.

"If they can assure us there will be no smoking, that's fine," Brown said.

Brown said he knows there is no chance of that ever happening.

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