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University Police Let 10,000 Smoke Pot In University Quad:
The Daily Camera reports, via Drudge:
  Although it's become an annual and renowned event at [the University of Colorado at Boulder], this year's 4/20 celebration was different in some ways than in many previous years: The crowd was so large it migrated from the long-traditional site of Farrand Field to the larger Norlin quad; festivities kicked off earlier than normal with daytime concerts; and CU police handed out zero citations.
  "At this point, none are anticipated," said CU police Cmdr. Brad Wiesley.
  Officers in the past have gone to great lengths to catch people in the illegal act of smoking pot on 4/20.
  In 2006, CU police dispatched undercover photographers to snap pictures of smokers. Photos of 150 alleged offenders then were posted on the department's Web site, and witnesses were offered $50 to positively identify the suspects — who then were ticketed. Another year, smokers on Farrand were doused with sprinklers.
  "We can't do the same thing year after year," Wiesley said hours before today's smoking began. "So I doubt we'll do anything like the pictures. ... There's no way our 12 to 15 officers are going to be able to deal with a crowd of 10,000. We just can't do strong enforcement when we're outnumbered 700 or 800 to one."
Pictures available here.
Mike& (mail):
That's a fantastic reminder that the government truly does only govern by the consent of the governed. Power to the people!
4.21.2008 2:43am
Soronel Haetir (mail):
Treason doth never prosper, for if it doth, none dare call it treason.
4.21.2008 3:11am
FC:
Scared of stoned college kids? Pshaw.

Really, he and his bosses just don't want to bother.
4.21.2008 3:17am
FC:
"Dave's not here" meets "I'm Spartacus!"
4.21.2008 3:23am
jvarisco (mail) (www):
Why don't they call the FBI? Or real Colorado police?

Why don't we make 4/20 election day? The Democrats would lose all of their youth vote.
4.21.2008 4:41am
_Anonymous_:
After we repealed the 18th Amendment that authorized the federal government to prohibit alcohol, the associated violent crime dropped noticeably.

Likewise, we should repeal the amendment that authorizes that federal gov't to prohibit marijuana. Oh wait...
4.21.2008 5:57am
martinned (mail) (www):
L.S.,

That's how our drug policy in the Netherlands got started. There was a rock festival in 1970 near Rotterdam where 100.000 people turned up, at least a third of which were smoking weed, and police decided they had no way of arresting that many people, so they let it go.
4.21.2008 7:06am
amativus (mail):
Yeah, check out UC Santa Cruz's celebrations today. The school shut down transportation onto and off of campus, but it didn't make any difference.
4.21.2008 7:09am
Lonetown (mail):
Pot makes libertarians of us all.
4.21.2008 7:24am
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Except, Lonetown, the people who don't want to deal with a highway full of stoned baby boomers and teenagers.

"We just can't do strong enforcement when we're outnumbered 700 or 800 to one."


That's funny. They do it with worse odds the rest of the time.
4.21.2008 8:51am
BT:
Mass civil disobedience. Hey maybe this is 1968 all over again.
4.21.2008 9:02am
ithaqua (mail):
"There's no way our 12 to 15 officers are going to be able to deal with a crowd of 10,000."

Rubbish. Shoot or gas a few and the rest will fall in line. Campus law enforcement has sure degenerated since Kent State.
4.21.2008 9:30am
Happyshooter:
The university police tried that policy for many years at the University of Michigan during the annual Hash Bash event. The governors (both GOP and Dem) got stung with the whole 'you let the white folks smoke some the weed but lock a black man up for the crack' mantra, and sent in state police and still do so every year.

By one of those perfect fictional devices that rarely is true in real life, the Michigan State Police dress uniform looks like a nazi uniform, and they enforce the laws with the same level of devotion. In 2000 they actually were sprinting across the diag to catch and arrest evil doers.

They now stride around giving the stink eye to anyone who is smoking a regular cig during the event, having pushed all the weed smokers off campus and onto the city streets.
4.21.2008 9:58am
TerrencePhilip:
Suppose that you are identified from pictures and later ticketed and convicted for a misdemeanor: does this damage your ability to get student loans?
4.21.2008 10:04am
Mordecai:
jvarisco:

What youth vote? Carville says there's a word for candidates who rely on the youth vote: loser.
4.21.2008 10:19am
Hoosier:
"Colorado is COOOOL!"--Beavis
4.21.2008 10:25am
Sean O'Hara (mail) (www):
If only the police watched South Park, they'd know there's one fool-proof method for dealing with stoned hippies -- death metal.
4.21.2008 10:38am
Applekeys:
The campus police here probably have this right, to not douse them with sprinklers or arrest everyone in site, though to step in if there are any collateral events common to large gatherings/concerts (fights, etc). Now, politically some folks will get wind of this, so to speak, and in the name of being tough on crime will mandate stepped up pressures in the future.

Regarding the student participants, the funny thing to me is this reads almost like an Onion article: the U of Colorado (and Colorado in general) is obviously known for smoking pot, but the idea that on 4/20 over 10,000 people gather to publicly do it is practically self parody.
4.21.2008 11:15am
andy (mail) (www):
This is not too different from went on in Hamsterdam/Baltimore for a couple months.
4.21.2008 11:47am
Hank:
How can a photograph of someone smoking what appears to be a joint, by itself, constitute proof beyond a reasonable doubt? Doesn't the government have to introduce evidence that there was marijuana in the joint?
4.21.2008 12:23pm
kelvin mccabe:
Well, one could only imagine what 10,000 college kids drinking lots of alcohol as opposed to smoking pot would have done to the campus and surrounding areas. I am thinking more than one arrest for either disorderly conduct or fighting and or property damage. From the paper, I see the most dramatic moment came when a girl bought a one dollar PB&J sandwich and it wasn't "magical." Oh the disappointment she must have felt!

On a more serious note, Rep Barney Frank and Rep Ron Paul introduced H.R. 5842 and H.R. 5843 last Thursday into the Congressional hopper. One bill would decriminalize at the federal level up to 100 grams of up pot (3.5 oz or so) and the other would prevent the federal government from harassing/arresting/jailing medical marijuana patients in states that have legalized medical. I urge you all to call your local Congresscritters and ask them to support both bills as it would be a good step toward a more sane federal marijuana policy.

And to the commenter above who asked about student loans: If the person were arrested and had a conviction for posssession of marijuana (as opposed to court deferred prosecution &community service or supervision or something)
that person would have to answer "yes" to a question on the Free Applicaiton for Federal Student Aid asking if they had a drug conviction and its possible they cold lose the ability to get federal student loans. Pretty stupid policy - and I think Sen. Dodd introduced a bill to take away that penalty for marijuana possession offenses (but not selling or possession with intent to deliver). Im pretty sure you can have a rape conviction and get federal loans though as the question doesnt ask if you have ANY convictions - rather, the question is "drugs" specific. Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) is all over it and has been trying to get that question repealed for a few years.
4.21.2008 12:28pm
p. rich (mail) (www):
For Boulder think Berkeley East, circa 1960. And they are proud of it. Berkeley, Boulder and Birkenstocks. Power to the people, Pookie.
4.21.2008 12:36pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

Doesn't the government have to introduce evidence that there was marijuana in the joint?

Well, I suppose the photographer can produce an affidavit that the odor of the smoke of the substance inside the paper wrapper was that of marijuana. This however does not preclude a defendant arguing that given the environment, the odor could have been from any number of other smokers.
4.21.2008 12:41pm
kelvin mccabe:
Hank- in my State they would have to have a crime lab report showing the substance in question was tested and had some detectable amount of THC in it. We get lots of cases dismissed when its small amounts because the police think its a waste of resources to send small bags of cannabis to the State police crime lab for testing. No lab - case dismissed! This practice led a few yrs ago to Mayor Daley proposing decriminalizing small amounts because the dismissal rate for under like 5 grams or something was near 90%. It made headlines for a day or two and then nothing happened and the story went away. Its a shame too, because it would have been a bold step for a large city.

I dont know what the Colorado policy is - I could imagine it being a fairly petty misdemeanor to have less than 2.5 grams there and hence, the students may not be required to retain an attorney (if they cant possibly be sentenced to jail) so they just take whatever offer they can. I can imagine some of them getting court supervision for a few months and then violating it by getting arrested again (fake i.d, underage consumption of alcohol, whatever) and getting a drug conviction that way.
4.21.2008 12:41pm
Apodaca:
Isn't this constitutionally protected activity under the rule articulated in Stoner v. California, 376 U.S. 483 (1964)?
4.21.2008 12:46pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Suppose that you are identified from pictures and later ticketed and convicted for a misdemeanor: does this damage your ability to get student loans?


Yes, under the Drug-Free Student Loan amendment to the Higher Education Act, a student who is convicted of a state or federal offense for the sale or possession of a controlled substance can lose their eligibility for federal financial aid for a year for possession or two years for dealing. Seems to me that if the cops want to stop these sort of public pot parties, all they would need to do is make a couple of dozen arrests at the event and when the druggies lose their federal welfare benefits, it would put an end to future drug parties in public.
4.21.2008 1:29pm
kelvin mccabe:
Thorley - you consider a federal student loan "welfare?" Man, I keep getting bills for my loans - and apparently im being charged interest! I must have been scammed.

And no, making a few dozen arrests (or even a few hundred)wouldn't put an end to the future 420 "drug" parties. Didn't you get the memo? The coppers have tried arresting people in the past and also used other more creative means to ruin the party and make the kids go home. Sprinklers even. The kids refused. I think a lot of kids go to CU Boulder specifically for the pot and pot-friendly atmosphere.

And i dont want to shock you or anything but the "kids" have been doing this for like 40 years. I imagine they will continue for the next 40. And hopefully, next yr instead of 10,000 people it will be 100,000 on mulitple campuses and the government will finally wise up and just tax and regulate adult consumption/possesion of personal use amounts. But that would require way too much common sense - so its not likely to happen.
4.21.2008 2:20pm
Joe Kowalski (mail):

lose their federal welfare benefits,

The only thing in Federal financial aid that could be described as "Welfare Benefits" are Pell grants, and the income thresholds for those is fairly low, and from my experience in school were rather uncommon. What the vast majority of students get in terms of aid are loans that need to be repaid and work study jobs that have to be worked. Hardly "welfare benefits".
4.21.2008 2:26pm
Aultimer:

gattsuru
Except, Lonetown, the people who don't want to deal with a highway full of stoned baby boomers and teenagers.


There are laws against being stoned on the highway that apply no matter the intoxicant the teenager/boomer chooses. Why aren't they good enough for you?
4.21.2008 2:34pm
gattsuru (mail) (www):
Because testing of impaired drivers for marijuana use is rather rare, and the drugs effects are significantly longer-lasting than the lawful recreational drugs.
4.21.2008 2:59pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Thorley - you consider a federal student loan "welfare?"


Absolutely, it's the same principal as when a city or State uses tax-free municipal bonds to build a sports stadium or a new plant in their area and gives the company a taxpayer subsidized loan. Since those loans are routinely referred to as a form of "corporate welfare," there's no reason why individuals who go on the dole while they're in college by having the government subsidize their loans should be thought of any differently.

Particularly considering that many college students worked their way through school rather than going on the dole and are unfairly being taxed (or having to borrow at higher rates because government borrowing crowds out the amount of capital available for the rest of us to borrow from) to subsidize people who will ultimately be competing with them for jobs.

Not to mention that financial aid is one of the reasons why college has become so expensive (thereby further penalizing the non-parasitic student). Colleges know that they can raise the cost of tuition because up to a certain level, it will always be paid by the federal government through financial aid (students at that point aren't the actual payor). So long as tuition prices go up, the level of financial aid demanded increases and so long as there is more financial aid increasing the effective "market price" that the payor is willing to pay, colleges and universities will continue to get away with raising tuition at multiples of the rate of inflation.
4.21.2008 3:40pm
DWPittelli (mail) (www):
Every year there's a free rock concert and smokeout at the Hempfest, on Boston Common. I don't believe anyone gets arrested for smoking, provided they do it on the Common (a rather large Olmstead-styled park). I am led to believe that Seattle has an even bigger Hempfest.
4.21.2008 3:49pm
SeaLawyer:
Just bring in the firetrucks and be done with it. The police get to have fun and the stoners get to brag about being persecuted. Everyone wins.
4.21.2008 3:55pm
Fub:
Thorley Winston wrote at 4.21.2008 2:40pm:
Absolutely, it's the same principal as when a city or State uses tax-free municipal bonds to build a sports stadium or a new plant in their area and gives the company a taxpayer subsidized loan. ...
Someone with more knowledge of federal and state student loan guarantee programs can comment far more knowledgeably than I. But my understanding is that the only government subsidy in student loans is a government promise to pay the lender if the student defaults on the loan. Of course, in that case the government maintains the right to collect the loan payments from the borrower.

I may be wrong, but if I'm correct, then these student loan subsidies are a far cry both in principle and practice from the direct subsidies involved in municipalities funding private developments with tax-free bonds.
4.21.2008 3:58pm
Whatever you want it to be:
Here at Iowa we're instituting a campus-wide smoking ban next year (even in outdoor areas). I wonder if CU has a similar ban (I wouldn't be surprised) and if it was suspended for this event.
4.21.2008 4:29pm
kelvin mccabe:
DWPitelli: Dont tell NORML founder Keith Stroup that people dont get arrested at the Boston Commons freedom rally: He get pinched with High Times editor Rick Cusik (sp) at last yr's event smoking a doob before speaking at the rally and is still fighting the misdemeaonor case. They brought on some Harvard law professors and are trying to work a jury nullification issue into the case. The judge doesn't seem to be having any of it - nor did the judge take any evidence on their motion to dismiss. NORML's webpage has all the links (www.norml.org) and details.

And Thorley, I disagree strenously that federal loans are welfare - but I agree with your point regarding loan availability and the increases in tuition. As far as I understand it - my federal stafford loans came in two varieties: subsidized and un-subsidized. In other words, the much smaller amount subsidized loans didnt accrue interest until after graduation because the G picked up the tab on that interest (so is the closest thing to welfare as far as I can tell) while i was in school. However, the bulk of my stafford loans were un-subsidized and i had the option of paying the accured interest as it accrued or simply have it compounded to the loan principal until after graduation. I also had work study loans and worked shitty hours on weekends when i wanted to do anything but work to stay in school. I dont see your point - it would be stronger if you are referring to grants only but its obvious from your other response you do not limit your argument to grants.

And regardless, if welfare is a concern for you, i cant think of a dumber policy than arresting college kids (so they were already accepted into college and attending) for smoking/possessing marijuana and then denying them financial aid so they then have to drop out. You want to increase the welfare rolls or what? Cuz i am assuming a very strict enforcement of the rules would seem to lead to just that for some of the students who would otherwise go on to graduate and be productive members of society. No?
4.21.2008 5:31pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Why wouldn't turning on the sprinklers work year after year?

Nick
4.21.2008 5:36pm
Bryan C (mail):
That's a good question, Whatever. Apparently smoking is restricted to "designated smoking areas" so as to "protect the campus community." I suppose it's possible that everyone stayed within those areas but given the descriptions of the event in the Daily Camera story that's rather hard to believe.

So, how about it, tobacco smokers? Why not make 4/21 your own day of public disobedience. Or are you gonna be outdone and shamed into silence by a bunch of wannabe hippies?
4.21.2008 5:37pm
buzz (mail):
Yeah, whats wrong with the tradional sprinklers? Or fire trucks? Fire trucks are cool and hosing down those stupid hacky sack playing, cheese sandwich grilling, dubie smoking hippies is just good clean fun. Or better yet, just legalize it for crying out loud. I am still good with hosing down hippies though.
4.21.2008 6:33pm
ohgoodgrief (mail):
Failure of will on the part of the police. Obvious banality by the police and their university masters.
4.21.2008 7:15pm
Mark E (mail):
Does failure to prosecute open up a defense of selective prosecution for any future student arrested for possession?
4.21.2008 7:43pm
M. Simon (mail) (www):
Why wouldn't turning on the sprinklers work year after year?


It would be a violation of do not water the grass rules in drought years.
4.21.2008 9:45pm
Nunzio:
Being a cop in a university town sucks.

Mark E. Under federal law, not a chance.
4.21.2008 9:48pm
Oren:
<blockquote> Why wouldn't turning on the sprinklers work year after year? </blockquote> Because they start wearing raincoats or swimsuits.

<blockquote> Being a cop in a university town sucks. </blockquote> I know a few that would disagree. Not very cop is terribly gung-ho about being a nanny (sorry, "protecting them from themselves") - some signed up for entirely different reasons.
4.21.2008 10:48pm
Jocelyn (mail):
On the topic of tobacco bans on campus, Indiana U went tobacco-free (in word if not in deed) on January 1. There are small signs here and there pointing out (quietly) that this is a tobacco-free campus, but you still see people roaming around with cigarettes. No one enforces the ban as far as I can tell, and I asked about it by email just last week. We're supposed to be in a civil, collegial, educational phase of the "transition," which I take to mean that citizens arrests are frowned upon and I am free to blithely ignore violators. Lord knows everyone else is ignoring them.
4.21.2008 10:50pm
NickM (mail) (www):

Why wouldn't turning on the sprinklers work year after year?
Because they start wearing raincoats or swimsuits.



Weather.com gave a high of 64 and low of 35 for Boulder on 4/20. While swimsuits would be smarter than being normally fully dressed for that weather, if you know you're going to get soaked from sprinklers, they're no panacea - you're still cold and wet. Raingear is much more effective, but requires more preparation by the attendees (not something potheads are known for) and doesn't keep the marijuana from getting drenched when they're trying to smoke.

Nick
4.22.2008 2:33pm
Oren:
Nick, stoners are more ingenious than you imagine.
4.22.2008 10:33pm
Phil Weinstein (mail) (www):
In these times when truth is regarded as an unimportant "special interest" -- even in matters of war and global human survival -- this act of humble peaceful anarchy is something all Americans can be proud of.

Here are some Photo webpages of the CU Boulder 420 2008 Gathering:
Link: http://www.ThirdTablet.com/2008/CU-420/
4.27.2008 4:06pm
fishbane (mail):
Since those loans are routinely referred to as a form of "corporate welfare," there's no reason why individuals who go on the dole while they're in college by having the government subsidize their loans should be thought of any differently.

Absolutely. Just like all those rent seekers who have Fannie Mae backed houses.
4.27.2008 11:45pm