Mile High City bracing for epic 4/20 in wake of legal pot

Greg Campbell Contributor
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Last year, the University of Colorado-Boulder made national headlines for its efforts to stamp out what has historically been one of the most popular days on campus — the 4/20 marijuana smokeout, which in the past has drawn up to 11,000 pot smokers who toke up on the university’s quad at 4:20 p.m. on April 20.

Determined to see an end to the tradition, university officials took the unusual step of closing the campus to nonstudents and hosing down the lawn with a fish-based fertilizer that made the quad smell as appealing as an Alaskan pier.

Activists were outraged, but the school’s efforts paid off so well that they’ve announced a repeat of the measures this year (minus the fish fertilizer).

But with the passage in November of Amendment 64, which legalized recreational marijuana use by those 21 and older, people might not even notice that CU is largely pot-free.

That’s because practically every other corner of the state will be Rocky Mountain High with the celebratory toking of locals and visitors alike as this year’s 4/20 celebration is likely to dwarf anything seen in the past.

Colorado is bracing for thousands of out-of-state tourists who will take advantage of the new law, with 50,000 people expected for a smoke-out at Civic Center Park near the state capitol in Denver Saturday, and thousands more to attend the High Times’ Cannabis Cup competition, the first such non-medical event to be held in the United States.

Although it’s still illegal to smoke in public, police are expected to follow the same protocol as they have during past outdoor 4/20 celebrations and largely look the other way. The sheer numbers of pot smokers give officers little choice.

The week will be punctuated by appearances by Snoop Lion (nee Snoop Dogg), DeadPhish Orchestra, Slightly Stoopid and Cypress Hill and events with titles such as “Incredibowl’s 420 Extravaganja.”

Many of the events sold out long ago.

Private marijuana smoking clubs will welcome those 21 and older and a marijuana tourist company called “My 420 Tours” will give marijuana smokers a VIP status they’ve never experienced before in the United States, including limousine service from the airport and reservations at pot friendly hotels.

“People are fascinated by what’s happening here, and they want to see it up close,” tour owner Matt Brown told the Associated Press. “We want to make sure people don’t come here, land at the airport, rent a car and drive around stoned all weekend.”

The weeklong smoke-a-thon comes against the backdrop of a state legislature that’s still scrambling to introduce and pass a bill regulating the state’s still-to-be-formed legal marijuana industry. Lawmakers have until the end of the session, May 8, to impose rules on everything from licensing marijuana retailers to setting standards for cultivation facilities.

Until then, visitors might best be served by remembering that although pot is legal for adults to possess, smoke and grow in Colorado under certain guidelines, it’s still illegal to buy or sell it for recreational purposes until new regulations are adopted.

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Tags : marijuana
Greg Campbell