Arrest at Denver pot rally punctuates racial profiling complaints

DENVER– Less than 30 minutes after Colorado Progressive Action co-executive director Carlos Valverde, Jr., spoke on the sad reality of racial profiling in drug-related arrests to a crowd of nearly 200 gathered in Lincoln Park outside the Capitol today, Denver Police took an African-American man on the outskirts of the rally into custody.

The incident seemed to add an exclamation point to calls for clearer laws that would protect all parties engaged in Colorado’s burgeoning medical marijuana trade. Indeed, the rally was meant to influence lawmakers debating proposed legislation designed to eliminate the gray areas that have come to increasingly surround pot use here.

The arrest, which came at 1:45pm, nearly two hours into the rally, was the first, and at the time of writing, only police action of the day. It occurred so quietly that hardly anyone in the crowd seemed to notice. Up to the point of the arrest, police had been huddled under a tree a few hundred feet from the gathering, largely ignoring the peaceful crowd, despite the fact that medical marijuana patients of all colors and sizes were quietly exercising their constitutional right to puff herb by passing communal joints.

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So far, the Colorado independent has been unable to identify the man taken into custody or the charge that led to his arrest.

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