At the same time on Monday that 10,000 people lit joints in the center of campus at CU-Boulder, two CSU police officers saw eight people sitting in a circle on the CSU Oval smoking pot and approached them.
A sparse crowd watched as the officers referred the four students in the group to the student conduct office, which will decide how to deal with the students’ offense. The other four smokers, who were not students, were let go with a warning.
Junior construction management major Joe Houtz was relaxing on the grass in the Oval when the students were busted.
“They were having a little powwow circle, smoking, talking and having a good time,” he said.
Meanwhile CU-Boulder police were standing by as the massive crowd there celebrated the day, which serves as a national event to promote legalization of marijuana. A Boulder police official said they were only there to handle major problems with the holiday.
“No structures, no cars, nothing weird,” said a CU-Boulder Police Department officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because of department restrictions for talking to the media.
CSU police said they are obligated to at least report any illegal activity.
“Any type of offense that occurs on campus we have to refer to student conduct,” said Interim Police Chief Frank Johnson.
While some were getting in trouble for their practices in Fort Collins on 4/20, others were celebrating at events and taking advantage of the generous deals offered by head shops and food joints around town.
A popular head shop on College Avenue called Kind Creations had 60 students and community members lined up at their back door at 9 a.m. waiting to get their hands on the deals that the shop was offering, which included cups of free beer for those who were of age.
“April 20 is always the biggest day of the year,” said shop-owner Brandon Finke.
Rock ‘N’ Robin’s was another one of the popular head shops offering deals to customers on Monday, which included 10 percent off anything in the store.
“It’s been a circus,” said shop employee Josh Bait. “We’ve gotten anyone from 12-year-old kids buying posters to white-haired grandmas buying water pipes today.”
Cheba Hut took part in the celebrations by blocking off their section of Laurel Street and hosting local bands as well as entertaining stunt shows.
Hundreds of students and community members were lined up outside of Cheba Hut all day to take advantage of the special sandwich deals and enjoy the music.
“I was at Cheba Hut this afternoon, and I saw some people on street bikes doing tricks and people on BMX bikes jumping off ramps,” sophomore education major Brenden Masters said.
“I think this unofficial holiday is cool,” he added. “I’ve never been to Boulder for it. I feel like it’s more relaxed here, which is what I like.”
Activist organizations such as Front Range NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), who fight to legalize the use of marijuana, were taking advantage of the crowds and celebrations outside of Cheba Hut by talking to people and handing out flyers.
“The fact that marijuana is illegal has given rise to crime in this country,” said Bo Shaffer, the treasurer of the group. “Marijuana is looked at from the point of law enforcement, but we need to be looking at it as a medicine. Events like this help get people together to make a statement.”
Johnson said that the CSU Police Department did not have any big trouble on Monday. The officers on duty went on with the day’s normal practices.
Staff writer Chloe Wittry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.