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Editor’s note: This opinion is part of a point/counterpoint opinion feature about 4/20. Read the counterpoint, “Rallying for a cause? ” by CU Independent Staff Writer Nathan Bellis.
There isn’t a lot to celebrate in April. The month starts off with a day of pranks, and from there all people can celebrate are taxes, the Titanic tragedy, Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and the occasional day of warm weather—unless you live in Boulder.
No, I’m not talking about Earth Day. I’m talking about April 20, the day where people get together on Norlin Quad and smoke weed (or whatever the cool kids are calling it) and have a good time.
There are plenty of reasons why this is bad. First off, it’s illegal. The whole event is a disruption on the day, and it’s not uncommon to see people skip classes to go join in on the fun. Large gatherings of people always have potential to turn for the worst (no one wants a riot) and it’s next to impossible for CU, CUPD or even Boulder Police to control everyone on the quad.
There is the whole secondhand smoke issue as well, because some people simply want to get to class without getting high beforehand (these are the same people who say 4/20 discredits our valuable degrees).
These are all valid reasons, but none of them really matter. April 20 is just a holiday, and those who disagree with it simply need to get over it.
When people come out to Norlin Quad, they aren’t there to ruin anyone’s day, and most of them don’t even see it as a protest. They simply want to get high with their friends and have a good time. To those who celebrate the event (I’m not among them), 4/20 is something to look forward to before finals. It’s a chance to get together, have fun and hang out.
Like any holiday, it’s not for everyone. Some people don’t celebrate Christmas. Some people aren’t really into Halloween. If someone wants to pull the “but this is illegal” card, just ask yourself if anyone did anything bad to you on 4/20. As someone who almost dies in a mall parking lot every Christmas season and woke up to a bashed-in mailbox after several Halloweens as a kid, I’m pretty sure this holiday is the least detrimental to my health. I’m far more scared of a mom who can’t find an action figure for her son the night before Christmas than I am a stoner on 4/20.
What’s that about wanting to avoid secondhand smoke? Here is an idea—go around it. There are lots of paths on campus that make it easy to avoid the smoky haze of weed. As someone who has chronic asthma and has enough problems breathing regular air, you’ll find me awkwardly going around Hale to get to the UMC from the Armory.
Everything else aside, let’s not forget about how it impacts earning a degree from CU. I’ve been in a lot of interviews for a lot of jobs and internships, and not once has going to CU, the school where people get really high outside once a year, been a deal breaker. In fact, it doesn’t come up—at least not like Ward Churchil.
So let’s just forget about 4/20 and save our anger for other issues at CU; there are plenty to choose from. I’ll be in class on Tuesday, just like any other day, but I’ll be happy for the people I know who will be near Norlin, because I know they are enjoying their holiday.
Let the pot-smokers at CU have their cake and eat it, too—they’re going to need it once those munchies set in.
Contact CU Independent Managing Editor Cameron Naish at Cameron.email@example.com.