Published: March 1, 2012 By

Having thousands of people arrive on campus for sporting events or the Conference on World Affairs enables the university to showcase its best.

Yet there is one unofficial event attracting thousands of people the university and many of its students would love to extinguish — the annual 4/20 gathering. The last two years it attracted an estimated 10,000 pot smokers who gathered on the Norlin Quad to light up on April 20 at 4:20 p.m.

The disruptive smoke-out is not sponsored by the university, and officials during the last few years have tried a number of strategies to end 4/20, including photographing participants to ID those who attended.

CU police can’t arrest participants simply for smoking pot, since possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in Colorado is merely a petty offense. However, police do enforce other laws, and people have been cited for possession of marijuana and other violations.

Officials estimate 50-60 percent of the participants are not even CU-Boulder students. In December CU-Boulder’s student government leaders voted unanimously to pass a resolution supporting moving 4/20 off campus.

CU leaders say they don’t intend for the pesky gathering to spill out into the city but stepped up, nonconfrontational measures are likely this year to  deter participation.

“There will be noticeable difficulties for those intending to participate in 4/20,” says CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard (Hist’86). “We’ll be enforcing parking regulations more tightly than ever, asking people not affiliated with the university about their business on campus and taking other measures to try to ensure the university is not disrupted by the event.”

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