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April 30, 2017

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Marijuana supporters observe 4/20 holiday

SEATTLE -- From Capitol Hill to Hippie Hill, marijuana enthusiasts observed their 4/20 holiday Thursday with public smoke-outs, parties and, yes, great deals on weed.

Before the clock even hit 4:20 p.m., there were arrests in the nation's capital, as police took seven people into custody at a demonstration that involved handing out joints to congressional staff members.

Pot fans in Los Angeles went for a cannabis-fueled hike, and in Portland, Maine, an author gave away more than 200 grams of marijuana to a long line of fans.

Overcast skies and drizzle didn't stop thousands of people — many in costume — from gathering at a park near the Colorado Capitol.

At 4:20 p.m., they lit up and sent out a raucous cheer — as well as a cloud of smoke that lingered in the humid air.

The annual celebration of cannabis culture gave activists an opportunity to reflect on how far they've come - recreational use of marijuana is now legal in eight states and the nation's capital — and on the national political tone, with Trump administration officials reprising talking points from the heyday of the war on drugs.

"We're looking at an attorney general who wants to bring America back into the 1980s in terms of drug policy," said Vivian McPeak, a founder of Hempfest in Seattle. "I'm skeptical they can put the cannabis genie back into the bottle."

President Donald Trump hasn't clarified what his approach to marijuana will be, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions opposes the drug's legalization and this month ordered a review of the government's marijuana policy, which has included a largely hands-off approach in legal marijuana states.

This year's 4/20 party follows successful legalization campaigns in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts, which joined Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as states that allow recreational marijuana. More than half of all states now allow medical marijuana.

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