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Police officers watch as the 4/20 crowd begins to leave Norlin Quad in 2011. (CU Independent File/Robert R. Denton)
Police officers watch as the 4/20 crowd begins to leave Norlin Quad in 2011. (CU Independent File/Robert R. Denton)

Dear Students and CU: Why?

The opinions represented in this article do not necessarily represent those of the staff of CU Independent nor any of its sponsors.

Dear Students and CU,


When I Google-searched the University of Colorado my senior year of high school, the first thing I saw was Norlin Quad on April 20.

My initial reaction? Alright, I can absolutely get on board with this. Totally college.

So much has changed since then: fish fertilizer, wasted concert funds and campus closures. Suddenly, the protest became a bit more serious, with students marching, holding signs demanding change and even being arrested for standing on the quad.

Police officers watch as the 4/20 crowd begins to leave Norlin Quad in 2011. (CU Independent File/Robert R. Denton)
Police officers watch as the crowd begins to leave Norlin Quad April 20, 2011. (Robert R. Denton/CU Independent File)

Then, Amendment 64 passed. Now, if you’re 21 or over, you can have an ounce of marijuana on your person. Even the Boulder County District Attorney dropped all pending possession charges for anyone that was 21 or older when they were caught.

We won. Marijuana is legal.

Yet CU is still spending money to keep non-students away from campus. I’m still getting emails from the dean explaining the “rules and regulations” of 4/20 and I’m still hearing students talk about their plans on campus for the upcoming date.


It’s over, we protested and we won. There’s no possible way anyone can congregate on campus, smoke in semi-large group of people and call it a “peaceful protest.” Peaceful as it may be, it isn’t anywhere close to being a protest.

Sure, 4/20 is like the St. Patrick’s Day for stoners. There’s nothing wrong with that, but people don’t drink alcohol in a large group on the CU campus. Of course, comparing marijuana to alcohol is like comparing apples to oranges, but not in the eyes of people who don’t smoke. Whether or not they are wrong, it’s the way it is and always has been.

Honestly, as much as I hate to admit it, we have to take it one win at a time. Let people get used to the idea of marijuana being legalized. Clearly, this is a worrisome issue to many people. They don’t realize it isn’t some dangerous substance that’s going to ruin civilization as we know it. Let’s try to undo the ignorance created by propaganda campaigns like “Reefer Madness”; let’s take it slowly.

The first 4/20 following Amendment 64’s passing should not end up being the reason people regret their vote in the first place. If a “protest” occurs this Saturday on campus, that’s exactly what will happen. I’ll regret it too. This isn’t about CU’s image. This isn’t even about the image of Colorado. This is about the image of marijuana. If you choose to go on campus and smoke like you’re trying to prove something, you’re just giving people a reason to hate it all the more. There’s nothing left to prove. It’s over. The goal has been accomplished. There’s absolutely nothing left for such an act to accomplish.

My hope is that we realize this as a student body that prides itself in being politically active. Don’t damage the victory we’ve already achieved by making a fool of yourself on Saturday. Everyone against the legalization of marijuana is just begging for a reason to overturn the ruling. Don’t give them one.

So students, stay at home. It’s Saturday. Enjoy 4/20 for what it is. It’s not a protest. It’s not a message. It’s just a day for people who smoke to enjoy it. There doesn’t need to be some meaningful philosophy behind it. Just enjoy it for what it is. Enjoy the fact that we live in a state willing to provide people with the freedom to smoke if they want.

Please don’t ruin it.

Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Nick Stollings at

About Nick Stollings

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One comment

  1. … or, you could be a real Coloradan and respect the day as a day to remember Columbine. 4/20/99 . Never Forgotten.

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