BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4)– The annual 4/20 pot smoking event is just a couple of days away and the University of Colorado and the City of Boulder are trying to clear the cloud of smoke.
Tuesday the Boulder City Council approved CU’s plan to close the campus to visitors during the annual 4/20 marijuana smoke out despite some strong objections.
“This is an instant where the solution is much worse than the problem,” said CU Law student Kevin Cheney.
It was a packed room at the city council meeting Tuesday evening where more than a dozen people testified either in favor or opposed to the plan.
“It appears that CU Chancellor DeStefano has obviously had too much to drink when he came up with this,” said self-proclaimed cannabis expert Tim Tipton.
Nolan Quad, the traditional place for the 4/20 gathering, will be closed this year and monitored by a heavy police presence. Fertilizer will be placed on the lawn as an additional deterrent.
In the past, thousands have descended on the quad to light up joints in observance of April 20. (See a photo gallery.)
This year, the university is making the campus off limits to everyone who is not a student or staff member.
Some students claim the crackdown could be a violation of First Amendment rights.
“The closing of the campus is a drastic undertaking. Voting in favor of this resolution endorses this extreme and heavy-handed measure of suppressing the event,” said Cheney.
“The university does have a policy that allows people to come to the campus and protest whatever they want and register with us. We even have an open forum. It’s just when it’s a gathering of 10,000+ people now it’s a safety and continuation of business concern,” said CU Strategic Relations Frances Draper.
CU said students who smoke marijuana will be issued a citation. As 4/20 approaches many CU students believe the event has been peaceful in the past and the new changes are unwarranted.
“Shutting down the campus is not the way to go,” said one CU student.
If their plans are effective, university officials say they will continue their preventative measures every year.
Last year police issued 33 tickets at the event in Boulder.
See footage from last year’s gathering in a YouTube posting from Ryan Van Duzer, a contributor to the Daily Camera in Boulder: