Gunfire Injures 3 at Denver Pro-Pot Celebration

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 21 2013 12:54 PM

Gunfire Erupts at Denver Pro-Marijuana 4/20 Celebrations, Injuring Three

What was supposed to be a mellow event at Denver’s Civic Center Park turned violent Saturday when gunfire suddenly “pierced the fog of marijuana smoke” and sent attendees at the country’s largest marijuana smokeout running for their lives, reports the Denver Post. Authorities are still searching for suspects and have no information on a possible motive that led the shooter or shooters to want to ruin the first 4/20 celebration in Denver since Colorado legalized marijuana. None of those injured are in serious condition. Two people who were shot in the leg were sent to the hospital and a third grazed by a bullet walked to a nearby hospital.

"It was peaceful; everybody was having fun," witness Laura Forduno said. "And then you heard the shots. Pow, pow, pow, pow."

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The annual pro-marijuana celebration was expected to attract some 80,000 people who wanted to bask in pot’s new legal status. Smoking in public is still illegal but law enforcement officials looked the other way on April 20, a date when numerous public group smoke-outs are planned across the country. Although the origins of the use of the code 420 to mean marijuana are far from clear, for decades marijuana smokers have “marked the date 4/20 as a day to use pot together,” notes the Associated Press. A smaller event planned for Sunday at the park has been canceled.

The Wall Street Journal recently took an interesting look at how growing marijuana is “becoming mainstream” across the country as 18 states and the District of Columbia have approved the drug for medicinal use. But the as many as 4,000 businesses that are now growing the plant for legal purposes are quickly discovering that making a profit from pot is far from easy.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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