Updated April 15, 2016 at 1:40 p.m.
Colorado’s cannabis connoisseurs won’t let a looming storm snuff out the festivities at the state’s largest marijuana-related rally. Organizers of the annual 420 Rally in Denver’s Civic Center Park say they are expecting as many as 80,000 people to attend the event on Saturday.
UPDATE: Event organizers said Saturday morning the festival is postponed.
This year’s festival features headlining performances by musicians Wiz Khalifa and Lil Wayne. As many as 250 vendors have reserved booths.
Forecasts, though, suggest the weekend could be drenching, with as much as 14 inches of snow. Miguel Lopez, the rally’s organizer, said that won’t matter.
“It’s rain or shine,” he said. “This is Colorado. If people can make it out to the Parade of Lights (in December), Coloradans can make it out in some nice chilly spring weather.”
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Among cannabis enthusiasts nationwide, April 20 — for reasons not entirely clear — has become a day of celebration that is known as 4/20. In Denver, Lopez has for years organized the Civic Center Park rally, which culminates at 4:20 p.m. with a giant exhaled plume of smoke. The rally has only grown bigger and attracted more national attention in the years since Colorado voters legalized possession and sales — but not public consumption — of small amounts of cannabis.
But marijuana’s most celebrated of holidays this year falls on the calendar’s most boring of days: Wednesday. Lopez decided to schedule this year’s rally on Saturday, and it’s not the only 4/20 event this year in a jam-packed calendar that won’t actually take place on 4/20.
Already, marijuana-themed tour companies are conducting dispensary tours and cannabis tastings centered around 4/20 festivities. On Friday, The Cannabist — The Denver Post’s marijuana news and culture website — is hosting a 4/20 kickoff party that includes a documentary film screening. Concerts, art shows and parties fill up the following week.
On April 20, there is a symposium about medical marijuana, a concert by Snoop Dogg and a “munchie crawl” down Broadway.
Colorado health officials, meanwhile, are urging revelers to be smart and follow the laws. They point people to the state’s Good to Know website, part of an educational campaign urging informed and responsible cannabis consumption.
“Knowing our laws and safety concerns will help those who choose to use marijuana have a more responsible experience,” Larry Wolk, the head of the Department of Public Health and Environment, said in a statement.
John Ingold: 303-954-1068, firstname.lastname@example.org or @johningold