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Former 420 marijuana rally organizer sues Denver, claiming city conspired against him

By: ADAM MCCOY ColoradoPolitics.com
December 21, 2017 Updated: December 21, 2017 at 12:35 pm
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FILE - In this April 20, 2013 file photo, members of a crowd numbering tens of thousands smoke marijuana and listen to live music, at the Denver 420 pro-marijuana rally at Civic Center Park in Denver. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, file)

The former organizer of Denver's 420 rally is taking his grievances against the city to court, alleging officials mounted a public relations campaign to remove him as host of the event.

The city banned Miguel Lopez from organizing the marijuana event after Denver's Civic Center Park was left littered with trash following an April rally. Denver said Lopez violated "city requirements," including noise complaints, untimely trash removal, limited security staff, unlicensed food vendors and street closures at the spring event, the Cannabist reported. Lopez was fined more than $12,000, as a result.

But Lopez, who has been organizing the event since 2008, is now pushing back in a lawsuit against the City and County of Denver, Denver7 reports.

He alleges officials have had a long-simmering hatred of him and attempted to ruin his reputation with misleading images of trash in the park following the rally. Lopez maintains trash was bagged up after the rally, but perhaps someone tore the bags open overnight.

Lopez even argued Mayor Michael Hancock is waging a war on marijuana and targeting him in the process. The lawsuit also claims the media was directed by the city to capture pictures of trash during the cleanup effort, according to Denver7. Lopez's attorney, Rob Corry, claimed they have obtained emails to journalists through open record requests, Westword reports.

Corry labeled Denver's reaction after the rally "improper" and said the city manipulated the reaction and created the negative publicity.

The lawsuit is the next step in eventually getting the event permit back, Lopez told Denver7.

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