Hearing officer denies appeal by Denver 4/20 rally organizer, opening door for new permit holders

DENVER – If you want to be the organizer for Denver’s famed 4/20 rally, now is your chance.

Denver’s hearing officer on Friday denied an appeal made by the previous organizer to have his three-year suspension from getting a permit and fines overturned.

Organizer Miguel Lopez appealed the decision earlier this year, saying the city did not seem to want to work together, and calling Mayor Michael Hancock “very hostile” at the time.

The morning after this year’s rally, some complained about trash strewn about Civic Center Park. Lopez and his attorney maintained they had until the next night to finish cleaning, but the city told them they had not done enough to “manage trash during the event.”

The city also said that health, public safety and security requirements written into the permit were not followed.

It fined the rally’s organizers nearly $12,000, rescinded their “priority event” status and banned Lopez from getting an event permit for three years.

"We are pleased with today's decision by Judge David Ramirez affirming our earlier assessment of the significant health, safety and security concerns surrounding the event," said Happy Haynes, Executive Director of Parks and Recreation, in a prepared statement. "We are committed to upholding permittee compliance with our policies to protect the city’s resources and ensure public events are safe for attendees and everyone else impacted by them."  

People wishing to apply for the permit to host next year’s rally can apply on a first-come, first served basis starting Tuesday, Nov. 21 at the Wellington Webb Municipal Building.

The Parks Permit Office will start accepting applications starting at 8 a.m.

Anyone wishing to apply must be in compliance with the city’s public event policy, which can be found here.

The attorney for the former organizers, Robert Corry, told Denver7 in September he planned to appeal any denial of his appeal to Denver District Court, arguing at the time that it was “a civil rights case.”

Requests for comment made to Corry Friday on whether he still planned to appeal were not immediately returned.

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