After weeks of denying that it would crack down on 4/20 events, the University of Colorado Boulder has announced that school will limit campus visitors to official business only and close down the famous Norlin Quad where as many as 10,000 students have gathered to smoke herb in past years. The campus police plan to set up checkpoints and issue trespassing tickets to those who don't have a student ID. Trespassing is punishable by a $750 fine and six months in jail.
"The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of the campus," CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano said in a statement. "The size of the crowd has become unmanageable, and limits our faculty, staff and students from getting to class, entering buildings and doing their basic work. It needs to end."
In short: people who peacefully smoke herb in the quad of a public university are more of a distraction than a campus full of police officers, barricades and checkpoints.
A statement issued by CU mentions that the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division will be sending out officers to the campus and surrounding dispensaries "to ensure compliance with licensing regulations." No word yet on what exactly that means, but we will update this post when we hear back from the MMED.
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Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett, who recently sent a letter to federal prosecuters asking them to back off from closing Boulder medical marijuana dispensaries, is quoted as saying his office will handle prosecuting anyone who gets a ticket.
The Boulder Daily Camera is also reporting that the Boulder chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is looking into the legality of the lock-down.
So what can we expect with this shutdown of such a Boulder tradition? Students rioting and smoking ganja in the streets? Burning couches? Or will it be just a few house parties with loud reggae music and some minor traffic from a few dozen cars driving thirty minutes to Denver for the massive 4/20 rally at Civic Center Park?