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Lawsuit Claiming California City Conspired Against Popular 4/20 Party Moves Forward

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a lawsuit against Arcata, California by cannabis advocate Gregory Allen alleging that officials conspired to shut down a 4/20 celebration at Redwood Park can move forward after a lower court dismissed the suit in 2015, according to a report from Vocativ.

The initial 2014 lawsuit was dismissed by U.S. District Judge James Donato in 2015 who said that the injuries alleged in the suit occurred in 2010 and, therefore, did not fall within the two-year statute of limitations. The 9th Circuit Court ruled that Allen should have been given the opportunity to amend the suit to include other years he claims city officials conspired against the celebration.

In the suit, Allen claims that after the party was featured in a 2009 A&E documentary city officials began coming up with excuses to thwart the event. One year, the complaint alleges, that the city scheduled a “tree-limbing operation,” and another year 2,000 pounds of “smelly fish-emulsion fertilizer” was spread throughout the park. This year, Allen accuses officials of simply locking the gates to the public park.

“If you can’t express yourself on the parks and streets of this country, you’re in a police state,” Allen’s attorney, Peter Martin, said in the report. “It’s a fundamental right that we’ve enjoyed since the founding of the republic.”

City Manager Karen Diemer believes “there are additional grounds” to dismiss the case entirely but did not elaborate.

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