Education

4/20 at CU-Boulder: Attorney may seek permit to hold pot rally on campus despite closure

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Corry tells us he's had discussions with the university's counsel, "and his idea was applying for a permit through the normal process."

Granted, there's nothing normal about the campus closure, even though it happened last year. For instance, a CU-Boulder student leader revealed that the visitor-pass application procedures were still being fleshed out even after the announcement about cutting off access to the campus to most non-students.

Besides, Corry says, "part of the beauty of this is that it's leaderless -- an organic event that happens on its own. 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."

Unlikely. In a recent 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. But Corry says this assertion is contradicted by claims the university made last year in fighting his request for a temporary restraining order against the closure.

"CU's core argument -- that this somehow disrupts classes -- is far less effective because they have not articulated a single campus-related academic activity that will happen that Saturday," he allows. He draws a distinction between Hilliard's general statement and specifics: "I want to know what's going on there. I graduated from CU myself, and my experience is that the campus is pretty quiet and empty on Saturdays. So they need to articulate what we might be disturbing.

"During the hearing," he continues, "we pointed out that CU football games are far more numerous and rowdy, and last a lot longer, than the 4/20 rally does. And CU responded, 'That's Saturday.' But here we are: The good Lord has placed 4/20 on a Saturday, and they have to deal with that argument."

For his part, CU spokesoman Hilliard has said university attorneys feel like they're on firm legal footing for the closure, whether it's on Saturday or not.

Continue for more on 4/20 at CU-Boulder, including a look at last year's request for a temporary restraining order against the university.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts