420

For a few colleges in the United States, April 20th is a sort of minor holiday. The term 420, which is kind of slang for smoking marijuana, evolved in some places into a full-scale event, complete with parades for legalization and community-wide light-ups at 4:20 in the afternoon.

The University of Colorado at Boulder is one of those places. And the popularity of the event became a little awkward for college administrators, anxious as they are to portray their institutions as a place for serious intellectual inquiry. And so, this year they’re cracking down. According to a piece by Casey Chan at Gawker:

4/20 (which is this Friday for you no clock having, no calendar using hippies) is supposed to be a genial day filled with the united airy bloom of a specific natural, medicinal herb, shower-wary people and no worries ’bout a thing. Colorado University is trying to crush that experience and ruin 4/20 for everyone.

I know, I know, colleges have been trying to screw over participants of 4/20 for years but this year CU is going DEFCON 1 on these kids. Not only is CU banning non-students from the campus, they’re making trespassers subject to $750 fines and six months of jail time. It’s serious! In previous years, Colorado University has used fences, turned on sprinklers and even “encouraged snitching” to quell the mass amount of people who show up at the quad every year to create a man-made natural cloud of smoke (for reference, 10,000 people showed up last year).

The final line of defense for CU this year is ruining the quad itself. CU is planning on feeding fish fertilizer to the lawn where everyone meets up to light one in hopes of overgrowing the grass and making it “virtually uninhabitable”.

CU says it’s stopping the event to “protect student safety and prevent disruption to teaching.” The university is instead trying to get all students to attend a Wyclef Jean concert (no disruption to teaching there!) at the Coors Events Center.

One almost wonders if this is intentionally ironic, as Jean is a huge pot enthusiast and the stadium is named for a family that made its money producing college students’ other favorite illicit substance, low-quality beer.

Jean’s contract apparently bars him from discussing marijuana “or making 4/20 related remarks.”

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer