KUSA- Denver police defended their decision to stand down while dozens of people smoked marijuana at Monday's pot giveaway in Civic Center Park.

Police said they did not want to start a riot over a petty offense.

Hundreds of people lined up to get free pot during the event organized by the opponents of a statewide ballot question over taxing retail marijuana.

The measure asks voters to approve a 15 percent excise tax along with a 10 percent statewide sales tax on all retail marijuana purchases.