CU officials: University still opposes large-scale marijuana smoke-out celebration on 4/20

Plans to shut down party, close campus under way

BOULDER, Colo. - University of Colorado officials still oppose a large-scale marijuana party on campus on 4/20.

CU officials say that despite the fact that Amendment 64 made recreational marijuana use legal, it is still illegal to smoke pot in public, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

The annual smoke-out celebration on April 20 disrupts academics, officials say, even though this year’s celebration would fall on a Saturday, the newspaper reports.

"4/20 is most certainly an unwelcome gathering on the campus," said CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard in a quote provided by the Camera.

Hilliard says that the library, where students may be studying for finals two weeks later, will be open on 4/20, and other campus activities will proceed as usual, the newspaper reports.

The university is expected to announce its plans to prevent the party from happening as early as this week.

Last year, university administration and student government spent more than $287,000 on measures to prevent the party from happening, according to the newspaper.

The campus was closed to outside visitors on 4/20 last year, and Norlin Quad, which has drawn up to 12,000 people for past 4/20 celebrations, was completely closed. Students and employees were required to show campus ID cards on campus, the newspaper reports.

The university also spread a fishy-smelling fertilizer on the grass to discourage crowds from gathering there last year, the Camera reports.

As a result, only about 300 people gathered to celebrate on a smaller campus field.

In addition, CU Student Government put on a concert featuring Wyclef Jean on campus to draw students away from 4/20 festivities last year, according to the newspaper. Because few students attended and the event cost over $150,000, student government does not intend to plan a similar event this year.

"Our administration's feeling was that it wasn't fiscally responsible," said Britni Hernandez, a student government executive, in a quote provided by the newspaper. "We spent a lot of student fee money to fund an event that didn't have student input or buy-in."

Student leaders did not tell the Camera whether they supported a campus shut-down again, but they want to hear students’ opinions.

Mason Tvert of the Amendment 64 campaign says that CU should approach 4/20 differently because the yearly campus party is safer than tailgate parties before football games, the Camera reports.

"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," Tvert said in a quote provided by the newspaper.  "Marijuana is less harmful, and I don't think the event is nearly as big of a problem as they make it out to be."

Tvert also mentioned that public use of marijuana is illegal, and that people must be at least 21 to legally smoke, according to the newspaper.

Though the Boulder Faculty Assembly has not yet announced its position on 4/20, assembly chairman and physics professor Jerry Peterson spoke for himself, saying that the party damages the reputation of the campus, the Camera reports.

"I think 4/20 is the event by, for and about losers," he said in a quote provided by the newspaper. "There's no place for it on this campus."

The smoke-out is a primary reason for CU’s high ranking as a party school characterized by “reefer madness” in the Princeton Review and Playboy Magazine, according to the newspaper.

Administrators say they will continue to invest in the complete removal of the event from the CU campus, the newspaper reports.