“High holiday” throng votes with feet, lungs to legalize marijuana

Despite official discouragement, roughly 10,000 people gathered yesterday at Norlin Quadrangle, a large field in the center of the University of Colorado Boulder campus, to rally for legalization of marijuana by smoking massive quantities altogether in the open air.

Before the event, Interim Chancellor Phil DiStefano sent an e-mail to students arguing that the annual 4/20 smoke out “debases your university and your degree.” But no arrests were made and no $100 possession citations were issued, according to CU police commander Tim McGraw.

The CU smoke out has become one of the annual events around the nation marking the so-called “high holiday” called “4/20” after the California statute banning marijuana possession. Four-twenty takes place every April 20 (4-20) at 4:20 p.m.

Officer John L. Kish, on the ground at the smoke out and in good humor, said there would be no arrests for possession, that in effect there was no police policy to prevent the partaking.


“What’s the difference between this and a concert?” He asked, waving his arm around. “There’s no band,” he said laughing.

“Do you have a personal opinion on decriminalization?” asked a student.

“I am in uniform. I have no personal opinions,” said Kish.

Billowing clouds of smokage ringed the field as a helicopter and a small plane buzzed high above the crowd.

“Your tax dollars, uncollected!” someone yelled from the middle of the throng.




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John Tomasic

Writer, editor, teacher, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications, five universities and a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
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