Pepe Breton calls for a “change of leadership” to address last year’s mismanagement
DENVER, Colo. – In a move that is sure to stir up an already red-hot controversy, Latino entrepreneur Pepe Breton is directly contesting the legitimacy of the longtime 420 Rally event permit holder Miguel Lopez. Due to the high profile mishandling of 2017’s event, Lopez was banned by the city of Denver from renewing for 2018 and is currently appealing the decision.
Breton, co-founder of the boutique dispensary group Euflora, is forcing the issue in a very public way by lining up outside the Denver Parks & Recreation building a record 7 days before the deadline for issuing Permits. Having secured his spot at the break of dawn, Breton is taking a stand.
“I won’t stand by while they get away with what they did to the park, to the city, and to the image of our young industry” Breton stated. “We worked very closely with Lopez and company at the event this past April. We were one of their biggest sponsors, and they simply couldn’t do what they promised. The entire event was categorically mismanaged. They couldn’t pay their bills, their vendors or even clean up their mess.”
Breton feels that a change in leadership at the rally is just what is needed to put the controversy to rest.
“It’s time to move beyond having a 420 Rally and turn this event into a celebration of legalization, normalization and the responsible choice adults are free to make in Colorado” Breton explained. “Euflora seeks to bring a more balanced approach to the event, with music, food, and culture that represents more than just the slim demographics that were catered to in the past.”
The city of Denver has been embroiled in a controversial battle since May when it issued a letter to the event organizer and Chicano activist Miguel Lopez and his lawyer Rob Corry. In the letter, the city alleges a long list of permit violations that occurred during the event Lopez and company held April 20, 2017, at Denver’s Civic Center Park. The city cites many violations including:
• Insufficient security in place: 16 guards total in 2017 compared with over 50 in years prior meant that lines to enter the event lasted for hours and became hostile.
• Endangering public safety: A fence to the event was pushed over by frustrated people in line and a crowd streamed in without being checked for weapons, contraband, etc.
• Multiple flagrant trash violations: Social media around the world was filled for days after the event with pictures of grass strewn with garbage, overflowing trash cans and a park in disarray.
The aftermath of the 4/20 event was a public relations fiasco for Denver, especially after the historic vote in 2012 when Colorado became the first place in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.
Even Denver’s Mayor, Michael B. Hancock came out against the way the 2017 event was handled, stating “when organizers leave one of our parks trashed, they violate [our] trust. Further, we experienced an event that was under-resourced and presented numerous safety hazards. This level of disorganization displayed before, during and after the event requires additional action by the city.”
Breton agrees with the Mayor’s assessment. “On the day of the event, they didn’t even have enough money to pay the main artist 2Chainz which is when they came to me for an emergency loan so the artist could perform as planned,” Breton recalled. “To this day, they still haven’t paid us back and my company is currently suing Miguel Lopez and company in Denver Civil Court. Perhaps even worse is that during the hearing last month, we found out that they haven’t even paid the security guards who worked the event back in April.”
Denver’s hearing officer David Ramirez isn’t expected to announce his decision on the appeal of the current permit ban for some time. This, however, has not stopped Breton and his team at Euflora from planning for next year’s event. Euflora is looking at a diverse lineup of musical talent to headline next year’s event with possibilities including Carlos Santana, Green Day, Imagine Dragons, War, Pharrell, Deadmaus and local favorites the Fray, Machine Gun Kelly and Nathaniel Rateliff.
Should the city side in his favor and allow the permit to be released for the first time in many years, Breton has plans to correct the errors of past 420 events.
“This should be a festival that people from 21 to 100 years of age can enjoy and relate to,” Breton said while describing his vision. “We seek to work alongside the city of Denver and the state of Colorado to professionalize the image of a cannabis gathering right here in the birthplace of recreational marijuana. We want to be part of the solution and believe that we have the time, talent and treasure to run this event in a manner that is safe, responsible and professional. We want to be an example for others to follow as legalization spreads around the country. However, if for some reason the city of Denver decides to back down and allow Lopez and company to run this event in 2018, there is a serious risk to safety, security, sanitation and the overall wellbeing of this city.”
About Pepe Breton & Euflora
Pepe Breton is a veteran of the cannabis space in Colorado and a co-founder of the boutique dispensary group Euflora. Breton started his journey into the cannabis industry in 2009 with a maxed out credit card and a dream. After several forays into growing cannabis, Pepe realized that he wanted to be on the retail side of the burgeoning new industry and made plans to acquire a storefront on the busiest street in Colorado: the 16th Street Mall in Downtown Denver. Euflora now has 4 stores, with 5 more under contract, a greenhouse, and an infused product kitchen. His small business employs nearly 100 people.