A gathered crowd smokes marijuana en masse - as per tradition at 4:20 p.m. - during the annual 4/20 marijuana gathering at Civic Center Park in downtown Denver, Wednesday, April 20, 2016.

(AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

Thousands of people gathered in a downtown Denver park for the annual 4/20 marijuana celebration.

The crowd at Civic Center Park, across from the state Capitol, counted down and let out a raucous cheer as the clock ticked toward 4:20 p.m. Wednesday.

Public consumption remains illegal under the state's recreational pot law, which was passed in 2012, but police mostly looked on as a cloud of marijuana smoke rose above the crowd.

Fans of the drug have long marked April 20 as a day to enjoy pot — especially at 4:20 p.m. — and to call for increased legal access to it. Some say it was once police code in Southern California to denote marijuana use, probably an urban legend. It was a title number for a 2003 California bill about medical marijuana, a fully intended coincidence.