The quad at the University of Colorado-Boulder is typically filled with the pungent smell of marijuana on April 20th, but this year’s 420 rally may go off a little differently. Officials have put down a fish-based fertilizer around the quad in an attempt to discourage pot smokers from holding their annual rally.
The Associated Press reports that more than 10,000 people showed up (many of which were not students) to the annual smoke-out on the Norlin Quadrangle last year and officials are hoping to minimize numbers in 2012. The campus will be closed to all unauthorized visitors on Friday. The school is also holding a free Wyclef Jean campus concert at 4:20 in order to draw people away from the quad.
Organizers of the rally tried to sue the school saying that closing down the campus was unconstitutional. A judge ruled that CU wasn’t denying a permit to protest and could legally place restrictions on campus.
Robert Corry, who represented the students, told the Colorado Daily:
“In this case, the University of Colorado has taken a step no public university in the history of the United States has taken… If we can’t have a free marketplace of ideas on a public university campus, then where can it occur in the U.S.?”
The 420 rally at the University of Colorado-Boulder is held every year by students protesting the anti-marijuana laws in the United States. University spokesman Bronson Hilliard, however, says that the large gathering is simply an excuse for people to smoke pot. Hilliard said:
“We don’t consider this a protest. We consider this people smoking pot in the sunshine. This is a gathering of people engaging in an illegal activity.”
Student organizer Daniel Ellis Schwartz says that the school is imposing on the student’s first amendment rights to protest. Scharwtz said:
“I do not see any justification for the university shutting it down… We do have to play a game of chess with the authorities.”
Do you think the 420 rally is a protest or a party?