Over the years, April 20th has become an unofficial marijuana enthusiast's holiday. And one of the major events traditionally held at University of Colorado Boulder's Norlin Quad--an event that has drawn nearly 10,000 people in recent years--has been shut down by CU-Boulder. For the thousands that attend this event the shut down is disappointing, but for some students, the shut down comes as something of a relief.
Colorado Daily first reported about an Anti-4/20 event for CU-Boulder students being organized on Facebook calling itself "Stay Classy CU." Nearly 600 University of Colorado students have RSVP'd to this anti-420 event as of Thursday morning and it's calling upon those against the 420 celebration to wear a suit and tie in an effort to "show that CU can be classy and not just baked," according to the Facebook page.
The full event description reads:
4/20 is a well known date for students of CU thousands of people flood Norlin Quad and smoke marijuana. For some students its not a huge deal for others its a disgrace. Dont forget the ones who par take [sic].
To show that not all of CU students are looking to have a free pass to smoke in front of a cop, in the words of Barney Stinson "Suit Up!" So on 4/20 I want you to pull the tie out of the closet and show that CU can be a classy and not just baked.
Andrew Trujilo, who started the Facebook group, told the Colorado Daily that this event is not against marijuana legalization, but rather to encourage students to smoke pot in private because he believes that public consumption of marijuana on campus gives prospective employers a negative view of CU students. Trujilo also thinks that wearing a suit and tie on 4/20 will help improve the image of CU's student population in the eyes of future employers.
Many of the comments left on the group's page are supportive and echo Trulijo's statements about a concern over the possible negative stereotypes of such a public display of marijuana consumption on campus and how future employers might view that.
But some other comments cite concern over CU-Boulder's methods of shutting down the event -- the University is spreading a fish-based fertilizer over Norlin Quad that day to make it clear that no one is welcome on the Norlin lawn, The Denver Post reported. They are also planning to have police ticket individuals for trespassing--which The Denver Post points out in a scathing and persuasive editorial about CU-Boulder's shut down tactics carries a penalty of up to $750 and six months in jail--if they are discovered on campus and are not current students, faculty or staff.
CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano made this statement about the reasons for employing such extreme measures to end the gathering via the school's website:
The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of the campus. The size of the crowd has become unmanageable, and limits our faculty, staff and students from getting to class, entering buildings and doing their basic work. It needs to end.
In a letter written to The Denver Post, DiStefano goes further stating that the marijuana celebration is far from a protest or demonstration and should not be treated as such. "If it is a protest, then every party on every college campus in America is a protest," DiStefano writes.
It may or may not have been a demonstration before, but it appears that the event will certainly turn into that this year. Art Way, Colorado manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, writes in a blog on The Huffington Post that despite the general stigma of celebrating marijuana in public at this 420 event, activists are mobilizing in support of the event because of Amendment 64--a measure that would end marijuana prohibition in Colorado--being on the ballot this year.
The extreme tactics used by CU-Boulder to end this event might just turn into a galvanizing force for marijuana legalization advocates. Way says that more than 10,000 people are expected to attend including members of the CU Law School chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and the local chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. He also says that local activists will be on the ground talking about Amendment 64, registering voters and that there will even be planes flying overhead with banners calling for an end to the overall drug war.