DENVER (AP) — Organizers of a marijuana rally have been fined $12,000 and banned from holding the event in Denver for three years after trash was found scattered at Civic Center Park the next morning.

KMGH-TV reports Denver Parks and Recreation officials issued the penalties after finding the 4/20 Rally violated city requirements with regard to trash management and public safety and security.

Marijuana enthusiasts light up at 4:20 p.m. MDT to mark the 4/20 holiday on Thursday, April 20, 2017, in Denver’s Civic Center Park. The annual celebration of cannabis culture attracted users from across the intermountain West to Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Organizer Santino Walter has said the trash was bagged and ready to be picked up the morning after the April 20 event, and that people in the park overnight may have ripped open the bags looking for cans or food.

Organizers and volunteers had the trash picked up by noon the next day.

— Associated Press

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — The Alaska Police Standards Council has decided officers and prison guards in the state should not be getting involved in the marijuana industry.

The council voted earlier this month to ban police from “owning or operating a marijuana business,” KTUU-TV reported.

The council had cited the ongoing federal ban as a contributing factor to its decision.

Council director Bob Griffiths said the matter needed to be addressed as the marijuana business continues taking hold in Alaska.

“In light of Alaskans’ proud entrepreneurial spirit, the council felt it may be only a matter of time before a certified officer considered pursuing a license to possess, distribute, or cultivate marijuana in Alaska,” Griffiths wrote in a statement. “The council decided to send a loud and clear message to those officers considering such an endeavor, that this activity was inconsistent with the ethics of professional law enforcement and is prohibited under current state regulations.”

Any certified police officer found to be operating a marijuana business since the rule has passed will lose their ability to work for a police department or any other law enforcement agency across the state.

An Anchorage Police Department spokeswoman said officers and other department employees must already pass a drug test upon hire and again if they are promoted, are involved in a car crash or are suspected of using the drug.

Alaska voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014. Retail sale began in late 2016.

— Associated Press

The commission that oversees Maryland’s fledgling medical cannabis program voted Wednesday to award the state’s first full license to grow marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The stage two license, awarded to Forward Gro LLC, is a final sign-off from regulators for putting plants in the ground. The company will still have to wait for dispensaries to be fully inspected and licensed before it can sell cannabis products to approved patients, which it hopes to do by late summer or early fall.

Gail Rand, chief financial officer and patient advocate for Forward Gro, said “the patients of Maryland will finally have an opportunity to try this medicine that could help tens of thousands of people.”

The vote by the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission is a milestone for a program that has been beset by repeated delays and questions about the fairness of the licensing process.

“A new industry in Maryland has been officially launched,” commission executive director Patrick Jameson said in a statement. “Medical cannabis production will change the face of Maryland and will have a profound economic and health impact on the entire region.”

Last August, the commission awarded “pre-approval” licenses to 15 companies after receiving a crush of applications. Businesses that failed to win licenses brought lawsuits seeking to open the program up to more firms.

One lawsuit takes issue with the commission’s decision to re-shuffle the list of winning firms in the name of geographic diversity. Another alleges that the commission failed to properly account for racial diversity in awarding licenses.

A legislative effort to expand the number of licenses to include minority businesses and the companies suing the state over geographic diversity failed in the General Assembly last month. And as recently as Monday, a jilted license applicant filed an injunction seeking an emergency ruling to halt the issuing of licenses.

Like many of its competitors, Forward Gro’s investors include well-connected political donors and former government officials. A partial owner of the firm is Gary Mangum, the chief executive of flower wholesaler Bell Nursery and a top donor to Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

The firm also benefits from the expertise of George Johnson, a former Anne Arundel County sheriff and superintendent of the state Department of Natural Resources, who is an investor and head of security.

The marijuana commission is expected to vote later this month on the stage two application of another pre-approved grower, Curio Wellness.

— Washington Post

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