CU-Boulder student Jenn Adams was looking through the glass doors of Boulderâ€™s Colorado Bookstore where she works when she saw a woman approach a squirrel, pick it up and start cradling it in her arms.
Â â€œYeah, 4/20 brings in some really weird people,â€ Adams said. â€œThere was also this guy in a leather vest that came in really messed up wanting to buy balloons â€“â€“ we donâ€™t sell balloons.â€
Â Boulder is home to one of the largest April 20 celebrations in the country where thousands of people gather to consume cannabis together, often in hopes of the eventual legalization of marijuana.Â
And despite the cloudy and cold weather, thousands of devoted observance-goers came out on Wednesday to celebrate in the University of Coloradoâ€™s Norlin Library quad, which was standing room only by 4 p.m.
â€œLast year we had close to 10,000 people,â€ said CU student Damian McDonald. â€œThis year I heard we were expecting a lot more.â€
Â The annual event often presents challenges for the universityâ€™s police force, said University of Colorado Police Commander Tim McGraw.
Â â€œItâ€™s illegal but frankly there isnâ€™t a whole lot we can do about it when 10,000 people show up,â€ McGraw said. â€œLogistically, there are days where you have to let discretion get the better part of valor.â€
Â McGraw also stated that while there were citations issued for marijuana possession and other offenses, the police are more focused on safety instead of enforcement during the holiday.Â
For Mike Anderegg, a Boulder resident and two-year employee of Cheba Hut, a sandwich shop located on â€œThe Hill,â€ 4/20 is the restaurantâ€™s busiest day of the year.
Â â€œWe generally have a line out the door before noon,â€ Anderegg said, adding that they see close to 1,000 customers over the course of the day.
Â Boulder is one of several places across the United States that holds infamous pot-smoking observances, including Tallahassee, Fla., San Francisco and San Cruz, Calif., the very place where the term â€œ4/20â€ came to be.
Â â€œI mean, it does bring in a lot of people (to Boulder), which canâ€™t be bad for the businesses,â€ Adams said. â€œThere are so many food places on â€œThe Hillâ€ that probably benefit. People even sell t-shirts for this. Itâ€™s crazy.â€
Senior Reporter Erin Udell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.