Head of Denver Catholic Church speaks out against 4/20 Rally

The leader of Denver’s Catholic community, Archbishop Samuel Aquila, put out a statement Tuesday calling for the end of the annual event that celebrates cannabis culture in Civic Center.

staff photo
A 2011 4/20 event in Civic Center in Denver.  (Xuilla/Flickr)

A 2011 4/20 event in Civic Center in Denver. (Xuilla/Flickr)

Another community leader is putting heat on the future Denver’s 4/20 Rally.

The leader of Denver’s Catholic community, Archbishop Samuel Aquila, put out a statement Tuesday calling for the end of the annual event that celebrates cannabis culture in Civic Center. Last month, Mayor Michael Hancock ordered a “thorough review” into the 4/20 Rally after residents woke to trash covering the park the day after the event.

“Some of the attendees at the recent 4/20 Rally downtown demonstrated that they respect neither Civic Center Park, which is the community’s property, nor their fellow citizens of Denver,” Aquila said in the statement.

The head of the Archdiocese of Denver went on to say Coloradans should take pride in protecting their land and environment.

“Mayor Hancock has worked hard to promote these values: and I hope he will take them into consideration as he weighs the future of the 4/20 rally,” Aquila said.

Aquila released the comments after signing a petition put out last month by Colorado Christian University’s Centennial Institute calling for the city of Denver to end the 4/20 Rally altogether.

“Not only did attendees and organizers fail to properly clean up after the event: a man with a knife tried to attack event staff and the open and public consumption of marijuana was tolerated despite warnings, signage and the presence of security and the Denver Police,” the institute said Tuesday in a statement.

It’s unclear how many signatures the institute has collected or when it plans to hand the petition over to the mayor. A call to the organization wasn’t immediately returned Tuesday.

Even leaders in the cannabis industry have started to distance themselves from the event and its unregulated image. But Hancock has said he “doesn’t want to pre-suppose” the outcome of the city’s review of the 4/20 Rally. If organizers didn’t follow through on the terms of their permit, they could be fined, and there could be consequences for future events. Hancock also said it’s possible the city could change some of its procedures or his office could recommend ordinance changes to City Council.

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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