Colorado: CU Officials Say 4/20 Gathering Is Unwelcome On Campus
By Steve Elliott
Officials with the University of Colorado at Boulder said they still firmly oppose a large-scale marijuana party that traditionally takes place on campus every 4/20. With April 20 falling on Saturday this year, the party could be huge.
Despite the fact that Amendment 64, approved by voters in November, made marijuana use legal for all adults in the state, it is still illegal to smoke pot in public, CU-Boulder officials said, reports Brittany Anas at the Boulder Daily Camera.
"4/20 is most certainly an unwelcome gathering on the campus," sniffed CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard.
CU officials said the smoke-out "disrupts academics," and they'll be making a stern announcement as early as next week about what the school's plans are to squelch the 4/20 celebration.
Last spring, CU took the unprecedented step of actually shutting down the Boulder campus to outside visitors on April 20. Norlin Quad -- the location of the party, which had grown to 12,000 pot-smokers -- was completely shut down.
University officials even put a foul-smelling fertilizer on the Quad to deter crowds. As a result, a far smaller crowd of only about 300 people gathered on a smaller campus field.
"We've got the library open on Saturday, and it's two weeks before finals," Hilliard said. "We've still got research going on in adjacent chemistry labs. We have faculty coming and going for meetings and visiting lectures. There are musical auditions. There's a whole range of academic and research activities. This is a seven-day-a-week academic community."
Last year, CU's administration and student government actually spent more than $278,000 trying to squelch the marijuana party.
The administration blew through a cool $124,561, and the CU Student Government -- which staged a concert featuring Wyclef Jean on 4/20 -- spent $154,236. Hardly anyone attended the concert, and the student government said it had no plans to try the same approach this year.
Last year, students and employees were required to show their campus ID cards to even get on the campus on 4/20.
"CU has a handful of football games in which they openly allow people to consume copious amounts of alcohol, and they don't seem to think there's any problem with that," said Mason Tvert, the Marijuana Policy Project spokesman who was behind the Amendment 64 campaign, and who is also a co-author of Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink?
"Marijuana is less harmful," Tvert said, "and I don't think the event is nearly as big of a problem as they make it out to be."
Meanwhile, CU officials said they don't know how much they'll have to spend, or how long it will take, to completely shut down the 4/20 tradition, but they plan to continue until it is gone.
"I think 4/20 is the event by, for and about losers," said physics professor Jerry Peterson, chairman of the Boulder Faculty Assembly. "There's no place for it on this campus."