CU Boulder’s Annual 4/20 Smokeout

Events, Things to Do, Travel Tips — By Jess Steinitz on April 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm

This year, the University of Colorado has won Playboy magazine’s “No. 1 party school in the nation” accolade, in part due to CU’s annual 4/20 “reefer madness” smokeout, as they call it. Every year on April 20th, thousands and thousands of students and community members gather on the Norlin Quad for a day of music, relaxation, and marijuana. People hang out and celebrate throughout the day, but the crowd grows as the afternoon approaches 4:20 p.m., at which point the celebration culminates in cheers and puffs of smoke that can be seen from up in the mountains.

CU's 420 SmokeoutThe possession, use, and distribution of marijuana remains illegal under Federal law. And although medical marijuana is legal in Colorado, its use is restricted on the CU campus. In fact, even freshmen who have been issued medical marijuana cards cannot possess or use marijuana in their dorms, so CU is now allowing those first-year students out of their housing contract in order to live off campus.

Although marijuana possession is technically illegal on campus, “Police presence during 4/20 is designed primarily to promote safety and provide for timely responses to emergency situations if needed,” said Molly Bosley, spokeswoman for CU`s police department.

Out of the 10,000 people present at last year’s 4/20 celebration, CU police ticketed 18 students, including 16 for narcotics, 1 for trespassing, and 1 for alcohol. As explained by CU-Boulder spokesman Bronson Hilliard, “We`re not going to wade into the crowd at 4:20 p.m. and start ticketing people. You have to be pretty flagrant and it’s at the officers discretion to ticket.”

Among the other selling points for Playboy’s party-gauging editors was that Boulder is a “beer drinker’s paradise” and the campus is close to “dozens of world-class ski resorts.” The ranking, which was announced online a week ago, comes eight years after CU topped a similar party-school list compiled by Princeton Review.

CU's 420 Celebration[Photos courtesy of the author’s freshman year of college]

Tags: 420, campus lfie, CU, CU Boulder, marijuana, university of colorado