University of Colorado Nixes Marijuana-Laced 4/20 Protest

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Mark Leffingwell / Reuters

More than 12,000 people participate in a 4/20 event on Norlin Quad at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colorado on April 20, 2010.

There’s no better time than April 20 to apply some much-needed fertilizer to the grassy University of Colorado campus in Boulder. Of course, such an application also requires shutting down the campus to visitors — and shutting down what has traditionally turned into a marijuana smoke-fest at the school’s Norlin Quad.

The timing is a perfect way to eliminate campus access for outsiders, especially those who gather with 10,000 of their closest friends for the annual 4/20 marijuana-laced protest.

(PHOTOS: The Great American Pot Smoke-Out)

Let’s not pretend that Colorado isn’t already fairly marijuana-friendly, or that protests aren’t liberally allowed on campus. But these protesters have rolled on the Boulder campus to promote marijuana usage in the past, and the university says it has the right to close down campus due to weather, safety concerns or possible disruptions. CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard says “disruption” is the reason for this closure.

But not everyone is sitting back and praising the fertilizer timing. The Colorado chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union says the move undercuts people’s right to dissent and that the disruptions caused by this style of protest don’t justify a closure of campus to outside visitors. (Students and staff are allowed on campus, but only after showing proper identification.)

While the law both supports citizens’ right to assemble and protest and the university’s right to manage its own facilities however it deems fit, no law currently supports the right to smoke pot in public. Maybe that aspect is what university officials found “disruptive.”

PHOTOS: Cannabis Culture