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4/20 at CU-Boulder: Rob Corry explains why he won't challenge campus closure

Last month, after CU-Boulder announced that it would be closing campus on 4/20 for the second consecutive year, marijuana attorney Rob Corry, who unsuccessfully challenged last year's shutdown, said he was exploring the possibility of seeking a permit for a 4/20 event at CU this year as an alternative to filing another request for a temporary injunction.

Now, however, Corry says the permit plan is off the table, as is another trip to court -- and he encourages CU students to attend the 4/20 celebration in Denver.

After CU made its latest closure plan public, Corry told us he'd had discussions with the university's counsel, "and his idea was applying for a permit through the normal process" on behalf of his clients -- the plaintiffs in his legal attempt to keep the campus open to visitors in 2012.

Following this procedure brought its share of complications, Corry conceded: "To get a permit, you have to have a leader, supply logistical items like Porta-Potties, cleanup, insurance. So we're looking into whether that's feasible. If we apply for a permit and convince CU we can deal with all the externalities of it, and if someone steps up, maybe CU will fold."

That was unlikely from the beginning. In a March interview, CU-Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard (disclosure: a longtime friend of yours truly) stressed that the university would only to be open to visitors who could prove they had official business on campus -- and he specifically noted that smoking marijuana in public was unlawful under both federal law and Amendment 64, which allows adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of cannabis.

The fact that April 20 is on a Saturday this year shouldn't be a consideration, Hilliard added, because a great deal of activity takes place at the school on weekends, and it would be disrupted by thousands of puffing revelers.

Corry saw this assertion as suspect and suggested that the weekend timing might offer a new rationale for taking CU back to court should the permitting approach fall through. Hilliard rejected that supposition and expressed confidence the university would prevail again should Corry seek another injunction.

Now, such a fight won't take place -- at least not involving Corry. "Obviously, any person can file an application" for an event, he says. "They're available online. But as far as my clients and my involvement, we've decided it's not worth it. We think it's likely CU would deny any application anyway, and then we'd be back to the same analysis from last year" -- seen in a document on view below.

Besides, Corry goes on, "the event was always very short -- basically a one-hour event that started around four and ended around five. It didn't lend itself to a formal, permitted, sponsored event like the Denver 4/20 rally" at Civic Center Park, "which does very well with that."

Continue for more about 4/20 at CU-Boulder, including last year's temporary-restraining order request.

The scene in Denver last year.
The scene in Denver last year.

This description of the 4/20 gathering's average length at CU differs wildly from one offered by university officials, who've long complained about an entire day's classes being disrupted. Then again, Corry admits to never attending the Boulder event, having always chosen to go to the Denver rally instead. Still, from what he understands, "the campus is probably going to be empty on a Saturday, anyway -- and there's been no interest from the students to go the permit route.

"We put up a trial balloon, but then we saw it wasn't the way to go -- and there'll be so many exciting things happening on that day, at that moment, in Denver that maybe CU students and Boulderites can come down there."

Corry still sees the closure as a violation of free speech rights, "and if anyone else wants to come in and challenge this -- lawyer, student or citizen -- feel free. I'll applaud anyone if they want to make the effort. But the permit didn't seem the way to go, and while the Saturday feature of it was an interesting development, I'm not sure how that's going to play out."

Plus, he adds, "the genius of the Boulder event was that it wasn't organized. It was an organic movement spontaneously generated without a leader."

Could a CU-Boulder protest still happen? "I heard an idea about moving 4/20 to 4/19, when CU's not ready to deal with it, and it's Friday and everyone's there," he says. "Our movement is usually ahead of things -- so maybe someone will do that."

Here's the request for a temporary restraining order Corry filed against CU-Boulder last year:

CU 4/20 Complaint

More from our Marijuana archive: "4/20 at CU-Boulder: Legal action in attempt to block campus closure?"


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