Marijuana Rally in Trouble at Colorado University

Apr 20, 2012

The pun­gent smell of pot that blan­kets a pop­u­lar quad­ran­gle at the Uni­ver­sity of Colorado-Boulder every April 20 is being replaced by the stench of fish-based fer­til­izer Fri­day as admin­is­tra­tors try to stamp out one of the nation’s largest annual cam­pus cel­e­bra­tions of mar­i­juana. After more than 10,000 peo­ple — stu­dents and non-students — attended last year’s mar­i­juana rally on Nor­lin Quad­ran­gle, uni­ver­sity offi­cials decided this year to apply the stinky fer­til­izer to the quad to deter pot-smokers. They’re also clos­ing the cam­pus Fri­day to all unau­tho­rized vis­i­tors and offer­ing a free cam­pus con­cert by Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean timed to coin­cide with the tra­di­tional 4:20 p.m. pot gath­er­ing. The mea­sures pit Colorado’s flag­ship uni­ver­sity, which has tired of its rep­u­ta­tion as a top party school, against thou­sands who have assem­bled, flash mob-style, each year to demand marijuana’s legal­iza­tion or sim­ply to have a good time. With more than 30,000 stu­dents, Col­orado was named the nation’s top party school in 2011 by Play­boy mag­a­zine. The cam­pus also repeat­edly ranks among the top schools for mar­i­juana use, accord­ing to a “Reefer Mad­ness” list con­ducted by The Prince­ton Review. “We don’t con­sider this a protest. We con­sider this peo­ple smok­ing pot in the sun­shine,” said uni­ver­sity spokesman Bron­son Hilliard. “This is a gath­er­ing of peo­ple engag­ing in an ille­gal activ­ity.” “I do not see any jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the uni­ver­sity shut­ting it down,” said stu­dent orga­nizer Daniel Ellis Schwartz, who con­tends the mea­sures infringe on First Amend­ment rights to protest. Schwartz, a physics major, and other sup­port­ers of the 4/20 smoke out plan to move it to a nearby park off-campus. He sug­gests there also will be some form of off-campus protest against the mea­sures. “We do have to play a game of chess with the author­i­ties,” Schwartz said. Many stu­dents at the Uni­ver­sity of Col­orado and other cam­puses across the coun­try have long observed 4/20. The coun­ter­cul­ture obser­va­tion is shared by mar­i­juana users from San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park to New York’s Green­wich Vil­lage. The num­ber 420 has been asso­ci­ated with mar­i­juana use for decades, though its ori­gins are murky. Its use as code for mar­i­juana spread among Cal­i­for­nia pot users in the 1960s and spread nation­wide among fol­low­ers of the Grate­ful Dead. Like most coun­ter­cul­ture slang, the­o­ries abound on its ori­gin. 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, an irony fully intended. Oth­ers trace it to a group of Cal­i­for­nia teenagers who would meet at 4:20 p.m. to search for weed (a the­ory as elu­sive as the out­door cannabis crop they were seek­ing). Yet the code stuck for obvi­ous rea­sons: Author­i­ties and nosy par­ents didn’t know what it meant. In Col­orado, recent 4/20 obser­va­tions have blos­somed along­side the state’s med­ical mar­i­juana indus­try. Approved by Col­orado vot­ers in 2000, med­ical mar­i­juana boomed after fed­eral author­i­ties sig­naled in 2009 they would pur­sue higher-level drug crimes. All mar­i­juana is ille­gal under fed­eral law, though Col­orado vot­ers this Novem­ber will con­sider a bal­lot mea­sure to legal­ize it for recre­ational use by adults over 21. A larger rally is planned for Den­ver near the state capi­tol on Fri­day and Sat­ur­day. Police have sug­gested they’ll be tak­ing a hands-off approach to the gath­er­ing, which could draw tens of thou­sands of peo­ple, said chief orga­nizer Miguel Lopez. Oth­ers are rebelling against the gath­er­ings. In Col­orado, sev­eral high schools across the state are host­ing drug-free events on Fri­day. The Uni­ver­sity of Colorado’s stu­dent gov­ern­ment sup­ports the university’s anti-4/20 actions this year. And other Col­orado stu­dents cre­ated a Face­book cam­paign urg­ing their col­leagues to wear for­mal cloth­ing to school on Fri­day to repu­di­ate the party-school rep­u­ta­tion. Cam­pus police offi­cers will be sta­tioned at school entrances, allow­ing in only those with uni­ver­sity IDs or per­mis­sion. Any­one on cam­pus with­out proper ID could be tick­eted for tres­pass­ing, which car­ries a max­i­mum $750 fine and up to six months in jail, said cam­pus police spokesman Ryan Huff. Any­one caught smok­ing on cam­pus will be tick­eted, just as they would any other day, Huff said. That includes any­one with a med­ical mar­i­juana card, which requires that con­sump­tion be in pri­vate. Off cam­pus, Boul­der police could also issue tick­ets for peo­ple smok­ing pot, and the Col­orado State Patrol will be watch­ing for any motorists under the influ­ence, Huff said. “This is not about the war on drugs. It isn’t even about mar­i­juana per se,” insisted Hilliard, the uni­ver­sity spokesman. “Ten thou­sand to 12,000 (peo­ple) doing any­thing in the aca­d­e­mic heart of the cam­pus would be a prob­lem.” Asso­ci­ated Press writer Kris­ten Wyatt con­tributed to this report. Source: Asso­ci­ated Press (Wire) Author: Rema Rah­man, The Asso­ci­ated Press Pub­lished: April 20, 2012 Copy­right: 2012 The Asso­ci­ated Press

2dde82b0a5taken.jpg 150x99 Marijuana Rally in Trouble at Colorado University

Orig­i­nally posted here:
Mar­i­juana Rally in Trou­ble at Col­orado University

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