Weblog of Leland Rucker
Random header image... Refresh for more!

And at 4:20, a Great Smoke Arose Over CU


Norlin Quadrangle, CU campus, 4:10 p.m. April 20, 2009.

Norlin Quadrangle, CU campus, 4:10 p.m. April 20, 2009.

I started a little before four on my bike for the 4/20 4:20 Smokeout up at CU. I had never attended this event, which has been held for umpteen years on this particular day each year. A few minutes later, crossing under U.S. 36 along Bear Creek, I noticed that traffic was backed up to the bike path. Smoke-out traffic from out of town.

I thought it was being held at Farrand Field, but when I stopped there, it was completely empty, so I just followed the crowds and my nose to Norlin Quadrangle.

By the time I got there a little after four, the Quad was jammed ass to elbow, so I locked my bike and waded into the crowd to take some photographs and soak up the atmosphere, so to speak.

Norlin Quadrangle, CU campus, 4:20 p.m., April 20, 2009.

Norlin Quadrangle, CU campus, 4:20 p.m., April 20, 2009.

A literal sea of people took up every available square foot of the entire quad. Looking across at Old Main, where students were standing on the south steps cheering, I thought of the iconic photos of student protests in the 1960s. At 4:18 great cheers went up for a guy who made it almost to the top of a tree in the middle of the Quad. Another guy near me tried to maneuver his way into another tree with a large drum. Some young girls walked by dressed as a large set of headphones.

There were a lot of smiles, and beginning just before 4:20, a great cloud of smoke arose over the quadrangle, and the masses cheered and coughed their approval. Three or four vintage airplanes were circling low enough that they might have gotten a contact high during the five minutes of intense puffing.

What I didn’t see a lot of were police. As I walked back to my bike, I found a couple of Boulder officers standing along a rail and laughing, looking more curious than authoritative. I asked how many people they thought were jammed into the Quad, and they said it was 10,000 last year, and this year it looked like more. After hosting a well-received conference over the weekend about marijuana, what were school officials smoking when they put out an e-mail asking students not to attend?

What would the Smokeout be without treehuggers with drums?

What would the Smokeout be without treehuggers with drums?

But the real point I got watching this is that, after decades and billions of dollars spent each year to stop it and half a million people imprisoned, here and at many other places around the country, thousands of people, most apparently with their own stash, gathered and smoked marijuana. I’m only half joking when I say that given the size of the cloud, perhaps the government should consider how much money it can make by controlling it like alcohol.

Since Congress isn’t known for its common sense, I’m not expecting that to happen. But the complete hypocrisy of the drug war and everything it represents was on display this afternoon.

3 comments

1 Justin { 04.20.09 at 7:36 pm }

Ah..It’s posts like this Leland that really have me missing Boulder. Thanks for that…

2 A (Yawn) 4/20 Event at CU — Jukebox in My Head { 04.21.11 at 10:37 am }

[...] jammed with smokers, hangers-on and the curious by the time we got there, just like the other time I attended two years ago. Airplanes dove in close, one with advertising trailing behind it, others, no doubt, filming. [...]

3 karakorak { 04.20.12 at 11:58 am }

“A literal sea of people took up every available square foot of the entire quad.”

Oh, dear. Our correspondent suffered a contact high. Of course the sea of people was only metaphorical. No “literal” sea of people can occur in reality.

You must log in to post a comment.