Updated 

In Brief | Nation & World | 4-21-14


Revelers toast joints, pipes in Colorado celebration of marijuana holiday

DENVER — Tens of thousands of revelers raised joints, pipes and vaporizer devices to the sky Sunday at a central Denver park in a defiant toast to the April 20 pot holiday, a once-underground celebration that stepped into the mainstream in the first state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana.

The 4:20 p.m. smoke-out in the shadow of the Colorado capitol was the capstone of an Easter weekend dedicated to cannabis in states across the country. Although it is still against the law to publicly smoke marijuana in Colorado, police only reported 63 citations or arrests on Sunday, 47 for marijuana consumption.

“It feels good not to be persecuted anymore,” said Joe Garramone, exultantly smoking a joint while his 3-year-old daughter played on a vast lawn crowded with fellow smokers.

The Garramone family came from Hawaii, among the tens of thousands who crowded into various cannabis-themed extravaganzas, from a marijuana industry expo called the Cannabis Cup at a trade center north of downtown to 4/20-themed concerts at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheater. Acts included Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg.

At 4:20 p.m., an enormous plume of marijuana smoke wafted into the sky above downtown Denver as rapper B.o.B. belted out his song “Strange Clouds,” with the hook: “And all we do is light it up, all night/All you see is strange clouds/Strange clouds, strange clouds.”

Carter “didn’t have any bitterness or anger — he kind of got above it all. That was his great strength,” said Thom Kidrin, who became friends with Carter after visiting him several times in prison.

Celebrating Easter — and creativity — in New York with festive hats and whimsical costumes

NEW YORK — Some wore their Sunday best in New York’s annual Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue, but others simply spruced up their St. Patrick’s Day or Halloween outfits.

“That’s what she wore for St. Patrick’s Day,” said Barbara Baicich as she scooped up her cockapoo — half spaniel, half poodle — in front of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Betsey Johnson, as the dog was named after the designer, was decked out in — what else? — an outfit inspired by Betsey Johnson.

“This is one of the best things to do in New York, there’s so much creativity,” said Baicich, a retired children’s clothing designer who came with her husband from Queens to the cathedral where they were married.

In recent decades, the street gathering that started in the 1880s as a strolling display of Easter finery outside Fifth Avenue churches has morphed into a sort of costume circus.

Republicans test health care law strategy in US Senate race in reliably Democratic Oregon

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. — The GOP is making a bold play for a U.S. Senate seat in reliably Democratic Oregon, where a Republican hasn’t been elected to a statewide office in more than a decade.

Republicans back in Washington think they’ve found the right candidate in Monica Wehby, a children’s brain surgeon who’s raised more than $1 million and put her early opposition to President Barack Obama’s health care law at the center of her campaign.

The race is shaping up to be a strong test of the GOP strategy of relentlessly using the health law against Democrats in hopes of regaining control of the Senate.

The rollout of the law in Oregon has been worse than in most other states, and Republicans are hoping a doctor has the credibility to capitalize on the resulting voter discontent.

“Doctors are trained differently,” Wehby said in a recent candidate forum at a Republican women’s club in Lake Oswego, a well-to-do Portland suburb. “We know how to look at things logically, not ideologically, and we also know how to work with other people.”

By wire sources