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4/20 Marijuana Rally In Trouble At University Of Colorado Boulder (PHOTOS, LIVEBLOG)

By REMA RAHMAN 04/20/12 09:42 AM ET AP

Cu Boulder 420
BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A haze of marijuana settles on the crowd at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here.

DENVER -- 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.

As ground crews applied the fertilizer early Friday, numbers were put up on light poles around the quad to help police keep track of potential problems. Signs were also posted warning trespassers they will be prosecuted.

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 writers Kristen Wyatt and P. Solomon Banda contributed to this report.

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The concert is one big fog of smoke. Wyclef asked the crowd "How many of you have been smoking all day? Before you even got here?" and almost everyone in the crowd erupted into a "Yeah!"

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@ SoonerReporter : @wyclef talks about marijuana during first song despite agreement with #CU #cu420 @ Coors Events Center http://t.co/UvKejzbW

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@ denverpost : 3 arrests, 1 ticket so far in #cu420 protest; commercialism harshes vibe of rally in Denver http://t.co/xuj9cBPO

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@ dailycamera : #CUBoulder police say #cu420 crowd size ended up around 700, w/ 300 on field near Duane, another 400 watching around the edges

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@ nonstopTLo : Police tape taken down@NorlinQuad on CUBoulder campus. 4 arrests. #TheDenverChannel

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Best Movies To Watch High: Stoner Movies For 4/20 (VIDEO)

April 20 is an unofficial national holiday for the insomnia-affected part of the nation that likes to party. If that sentence made zero sense to you, then skip this article. But for those who may be interested in celebrating 4/20, Moviefone has put together a list of film recommendations that we think you'll find mesmerizing (and don't worry, you're not going to end up on some government watch-list).

Read more here: http://huff.to/IXrolQ

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In honor of 4/20, we had hoped to give you 420 reasons to celebrate. Then we randomly got lazy. So here are, like, 16 reasons instead.

Legalizing marijuana could save the U.S. government $13.7 billion by eliminating prohibition enforcement costs and adding billions in tax revenue, according to a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron that’s gained the support of more than 300 of his economist peers. Proponents have highlighted the potential economic benefits of legalizing marijuana for years, but the growth and legitimization of medical marijuana dispensaries recently could lend the argument more credibility.

Read more here: http://huff.to/IXr9Y6

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@ BrittanyAnas : #CU student mocks campus ID requirement with 3 ft by 4 ft duplicate http://t.co/1qgsJa5A

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@ timhoover : Smell of pot from #4/20 rally wafts into the Capitol every time someone opens a door to the West Steps outside governor's office. #coleg

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@ egorski : As promised, Denver's 4/20 cloud, dissipating quickly in the wind: http://t.co/zJ13lcMk

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@ denverpost : LIVE: Tweets, photos and live reaction from 4/20 rallies across Colorado: http://t.co/0QwlIIVR #cu420 #co420

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@ DenverChannel : Air Tracker 7 is heading to Civic Center Park for #4/20 gathering. Reportedly much bigger than #Boulder turnout.

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@ nonstopTLo : 4:20 pm.1 young man ran onto the quad. Lasted :30 seconds. Handcuffed. #TheDenverChannel http://t.co/mVQLF6oH

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Bootsy Collins: "Munchies For Your Love"

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@ dailycamera : Apparently that was not @wyclef in #cu420 crowd...

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@ BrittanyAnas : Wyclef Jean joins crowd at #cu420

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To celebrate, here's a little history on 420:

Warren Haynes, the Allman Brothers Band guitarist, routinely plays with the surviving members of the Grateful Dead, touring as The Dead. It's the spring of 2009, he's just finished a Dead show in Washington, D.C., and he gets a pop quiz from The Huffington Post.

Where does "420" come from?

He pauses and thinks, hands on his sides. "I don't know the real origin. I know myths and rumors," he says. "I'm really confused about the first time I heard it. It was like a police code for smoking in progress or something. What's the real story?"

Read the rest here: http://huff.to/Jlb3xc

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Get ready...

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@ DenverChannel : Don't see that haze over #CU420. Watch live video of our chopper over the crowds http://t.co/ShSo8bZA

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@ denvernewsnow :

Photo Gallery: 4/20 smokeout in Boulder:

http://t.co/82O5PFVT

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@ dailycamera : RT @BrittanyAnas: About 300 students on lawn near Duane physics. Chant: "safety in numbers" http://t.co/FHljDnVz #cu420 #boulder

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Your plans to celebrate 4/20 this Friday could actually make the government some money, if only such activities were legal. That’s according to a bunch of economists, and some prominent ones too.

More than 300 economists, including three nobel laureates, have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco.

Read more here: http://huff.to/Iv8swN

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@ dailycamera : #cu420 protestors gathering on lawn near Duane Physics, chanting 'don't be afraid' #boulder

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@ dailycamera : Moving on to Farrand Field now... RT @dailycamera: LIVE VIDEO: #cu420 protest march reaches campus, Norlin Quad http://t.co/L9fSlQ5M

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"Are stoners dangerous?"

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"We are not here because it is safe. We are here because we believe that we are not without strength. If we play their game. We lose. We will stand as one. We will stay. We will not fight you. You have guns. We have none. But we are not afraid."

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We'll be on the ground with updates from Boulder shortly!

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Loading Slideshow...
  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: The haze of marijuana smoke looms over a crowd of thousands at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: The haze of marijuana smoke looms over a crowd of thousands at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: Marijuana saleswoman Marissa Dodd (R) bags up a marijuana sale at the Dr. Reefer marijuana dispensary April 20, 2010 across from the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Reefer is one of several legal marijuana dispensaries in Boulder, and sell their different varieties of marijuana to anyone possessing a medical marijuana card issued by the state. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Marissa Dodd

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A young woman stands in the crowd during a "smoke out" with thousands of others April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: Marijuana saleswoman Marissa Dodd (L) bags up a sale for a customer at Dr. Reefer's marijuana dispensary April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: Young men smoke a marijuana cigarette during a "smoke out" with thousands of others April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: Young men smoke a marijuana cigarette during a "smoke out" with thousands of others April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    OULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A young woman smokes a marijuana cigarette during a "smoke out" with thousands of others April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A student smokes a marijuana cigarette during a "smoke out" with thousands of others April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A young woman sits on the shoulders of a friend as a haze of marijuana settles on the crowd at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: The haze of marijuana smoke looms over a crowd of thousands at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: The library building looms over a haze of marijuana smoke near a crowd of thousands at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A woman applauds as the haze of marijuana smoke looms over a crowd of thousands at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A haze of marijuana settles on the crowd at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

    BOULDER, CO - APRIL 20: A haze of marijuana settles on the crowd at 4:20 pm April 20, 2010 at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado. April 20th has become a de facto holiday for marijuana advocates, with large gatherings and "smoke outs" in many parts of the United States. Colorado, one of 14 states to allow use of medical marijuana, has experienced an explosion in marijuana dispensaries, trade shows and related businesses in the last year as marijuana use becomes more mainstream here. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration - 2011

    via YouTube.

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

  • CU-Boulder Students Talk About 4/20

  • CU-Boulder 4/20 Celebration

  • Marijuana Myths

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