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Colo. 4/20 Shooting Suspect Sought

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By Aditi Mukherji, JD on April 23, 2013 10:04 AM

A 4/20 marijuana celebration in Colorado took a terrifying turn when a shooting broke out, leaving two people with gunshot wounds, and a third grazed.

The gunfire scattered thousands of revelers attending the festival, the first since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, reports Denver's KCNC-TV.

Police have interviewed a possible accomplice, but have yet to identify the primary suspect.

The annual 4/20 pot celebration was expected to draw up to 80,000 people this year, after Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 last fall.

The hazy roots of the "4/20" phenomenon can be traced to a group of teenagers in California who would gather to smoke pot at 4:20 p.m. But in Denver and other parts of the country, it has evolved into an annual massive smoke-out celebration for recreational marijuana users, according to The Huffington Post.

But not everyone is smoking the Kool-Aid. Smart Colorado, an advocacy group opposed to marijuana proliferation, warned that 4/20 celebrations "send a clear message to the rest of the nation and the world about what Colorado looks like."

Though Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational pot use, the states are still waiting for a federal response. This is because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

There is also an ongoing commercial distribution issue regarding recreational pot. Washington and Colorado are in the process of setting up rules for commercial pot sales. For the time being, dispensaries are still limited to people with certain medical conditions -- though business seems to be blossoming, according to Time. In the meantime, pot users can puff, puff, and pass in small amounts, in the privacy of their own homes.

A final cautionary note: Though Denver police have usually looked the other way on 4/20, anyone smoking at Saturday's 4/20 rally was technically breaking the law. Like alcohol in parks, recreational pot use in Colorado is still prohibited in public spaces.

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