College To Use Fertilizer To Prevent Pot Party From Growing

If there’s one thing the last half-century has taught us about pot-smoking teens and 20-somethings, it’s that the best way to reach them is by cracking down even harder. That’s why the folks at the University of Colorado Boulder will be checking ID and spreading stinky fish fertilizer in an attempt to prevent pot-partakers from gathering on the school’s quad this April 20.

To the administration at CU (not to be confused with Consumers Union, where pot would only be smoked if it were legal and then only in the pure interest of science), the annual 4/20 party is a nuisance that their best efforts — including erecting fences and turning on the sprinklers — have been unable to snuff out. CBS Denver reports that around 10,000 people attended the 2011 bash.

Since the school says that most of the people who attend the party aren’t enrolled there, CU will be closing off the entire campus to people who attend or work at the university.

Of course, some of those 10,000 people at last year’s party might have also been students and maybe even faculty, so as an extra layer of deterrent, the school will be covering the quad with a fish-based fertilizer, which CBS reports will make the gathering spot “virtually uninhabitable.”

If a non-student or staff member is caught strolling the CU campus on 4/20, they could be arrested for trespassing and face a $750 ticket and jail time.

CU Hopes To Snuff Out 4/20 Pot Event [CBS Denver]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Sean says:

    Proof reading works you know. So is CU campus going to be closed to people who work and attend there?

    • Blueskylaw says:

      It makes sense. If the people who work or attend there AREN’T there on the day, then anyone who is on campus that day doesn’t belong there and will be tased and arrested on site.


  2. Coffee says:

    College: You’re doing it wrong, CU.

    • bluline says:

      This speaks of pathetic desperation on the part of the university. They deserve all the ridicule that will be heaped upon them.

  3. Doubting thomas says:

    I am 100% pro legalization. That being said i have to side with the University on this one. Fair or not it is an illegal substance and this event causes real problems for the college.

    • Jawaka says:

      I agree. I’m also pro legalization but again, its currently illegal and if the school doesn’t take any actions to prevent this and someone gets hurt you know that they’ll sue the university.

      • GenXCub says:

        Do they do anything to prevent NCAA Tournament bracket gambling? That’s probably illegal in Colorado too, but it’s generally permitted pretty much everywhere.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Actually office pooling is not illegal in CO as long as you follow some simple guidelines.

        • Jawaka says:

          Its a different kind of risk (physical vs financial). Besides, if you some how made the government aware that your office was holding a NCAA pool and you lost a lot of money doing it I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see someone try to sue the local government for not acting to prevent it. Remember, there’s no more personal responsibility in the country any more.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      If they ignored the event, it would probably cause less damage.

    • LanMan04 says:

      Fair or not it is an illegal substance and this event causes real problems for the college.
      Such as…?

      • Doubting thomas says:

        Parents not wanting to send their kids to school there, property damage, class disruptions.

    • jimbobjoe says:

      This happens yearly at Ohio State (in summer) and the university tolerates it. It becomes a gigantic smoke fest. I don’t really understand why UC boulder is going in the opposite direction.

      • TheCorporateGeek Says Common Sense Is The Key says:

        Ummmmmmm because it’s an illegal activity and they could be liable for anything that happens on their property….stoners like you just don’t get it.

  4. Gman says:

    Next year: Squirrels with razor sharp claws.
    Year after that: The Pot [aka hunger] games begin.

  5. rmorin says:

    So before it was on predictably on the same college quad, allowing for police to plan, and manage the crowd.

    Now they are going to be forcing people to find an alternative site, to which there will be no, or little planning for.

    Sounds solid.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Went to CU – the cops just sit there making sure nothing gets out of hand.

      I’ve always said all it would take is one year of a police force with full on riot gear, close them in and arrest the lot of them. Don’t even have to stick the charges on everyone.

      But if they are so concerned with how illegal it is, why do they never make any arrests?

      • Cat says:

        I’m sure the stoners wouldn’t resist. But I suspect the officers secretly enjoyed the contact buzz.

    • Doubting thomas says:

      So because they knew it would be coming the campus should be forced to host an illegal and unsanctioned event?

      • ChuckECheese says:

        So much for rights of assembly and petition. Just outlaw everybody.

        • partofme says:

          Hey everybody… I’m going to plan an assembly to petition for the right to perform illegal act X. In this assembly, we’re going to perform illegal act X.

          …what do you do? Remember, I can put pretty much any illegal act in that little space where the X is. The truth is, I was a-ok through the first sentence. It’s the second sentence that’s problematic. Hell, even NAMBLA can assemble and petition against age-based consent laws. It doesn’t mean they can rape boys in the middle of campus.

          • ChuckECheese says:

            Your slippery slope isn’t appealing. I think I’ll stay up here on the higher ground.

            • partofme says:

              It’s not a slippery slope at all. It’s a basic legal principle. In fact, you presented the slippery slope that if you don’t let them engage in this illegal activity, then you’re outlawing all assembly/petition.

              • ChuckECheese says:

                Boston Tea Party, Civil War, Civil Rights Movement, Helter Skelter … yeah, these were all illegal too.

                • partofme says:

                  Don’t confuse things you like with policy. You’re just fine in thinking that sometimes a method of enacting positive societal change comes through illegal acts. That being said, as a matter of policy, we must enforce the current law and then change it if society changes to the point that we can change it. If you really think your cause is on par with the Boston Tea Party, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Act… then do something about it. But don’t expect to not be punished due of some off-the-wall appeal to the rights of assembly and petition.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      But it’s not sponsored or hosted by the university, meaning they shouldn’t be responsible for it anyway. When people invade the campus, the university unwillingly takes on responsibility for something it didn’t want on its campus.

      • rmorin says:

        This is about risk management, not taking a stand on marijuana. You know people are going to have this demonstration, if not in their normal place then another.

        Intelligent risk management is allowing it in the normal place where police have managed the crowd for years and perhaps just being a little more strict about enforcement year after year after year to create a slow societal shift about the perception of the event. Large scale traditions and movements do not disappear overnight. This allows incidents (see violence and destruction associated with trying to prohibit large crowds) to be minimal.

        Instead now where will people congregate for this? Perhaps a public park that’s in a nearby residential neighborhood? Perhaps in a different part of campus that is less police friendly should things turn south? I really doubt all 10,000 people are just gonna say “naw, this place smells, lets go home”.

        Lets take a look at the response to the University of Kentucky Police during there riots following their recent NCAA championship win:

        Notice how they do things like say “we are no longer enforcing firework laws” over the scanner? It is because appropriate risk management is that it is not worth inciting the crowd or officer safety to do so. Risk management is not about getting every single person in trouble, it is understanding the bigger picture, which I believe CU administrators are missing.

  6. Cat says:

    Stinky fish fertilizer is great for growing pot.

    Just Sayin’.

    • Phil Keeps It Real [Consumerist] says:

      Stop spreading rumors on the world wide webbers!

    • Difdi says:

      Yeah, drop a few handfuls of seeds into the fertilizer, and you could have a bumper crop…

      And odds are, it’s the college that gets in trouble when people see it growing on the quad…

  7. says:

    Meanwhile here in Vancouver the Art Gallery (right next to the Provincial Courts), will once again go up in smoke, with roads being blocked during rushour because people will once again spill over into it.

    Pot culture really is amusing, from both ends.

  8. UberGeek says:

    So the authorities in the Boulder are completely incapable of prosecuting an illegal act even when they know precisely when and where it will happen? Kinda explains why they never solved the JonBenet Ramsey case. Incompetence at that level wouldn’t make me feel very safe.

    • nishioka says:

      Ok, you try arresting 10,000 nonviolent offenders all at once and let’s see how well that works out for you.

      • says:

        They should at least try, otherwise the cops and the Justice System are essentially saying that the law is BS.

        Of course we all know this, but it would be nice for those who are tasked with enforcing the law to at least be honest about things.

        Having watched “American Weed” the last few weeks, sensationalist editing and shooting not withstanding, I get the strong feeling that law enforcement and anti-pot activists are mostly doing what they’re doing because that’s how they’ve always done things.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I’m in agreement – if you are going to publically state the law is just, then you need to enforce it. Sometimes that means beefing up your task force, riot gear, etc. to make it happen.

          • clippy2.0 says:

            I vote for tanks

          • Evil_Otto would rather pay taxes than make someone else rich says:

            Yup, because someone smoking a joint is obviously a huge threat to public safety and needs to be dealt with with extreme prejudice. Bash those heads!

            Or, you know, they could consider arresting the troublemakers who deserve punishment a lot more than the people sitting there minding their own business.

            Who is it more effective, from a public safety point of view, to arrest, a non-violent minor drug offender, or someone going around picking pockets/drunken disorderly/other infractions?

        • Lopoetve says:

          Given that the students outnumber the police 100-1, that the gross majority of the university “doesn’t care” (being the students), all that would cause is a riot. We already know how that goes – the police lose (see 2000/2001). So rather than embarrass yourself and your department, they just kinda sigh and do what they can to the worst offenders.

          • iesika says:

            If they wait until the participants are stoned enough, it would at least be a very mellow riot.

          • Not Given says:

            Stoners don’t riot.

          • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

            So anytime illegal acts are being performed by a large enough group, the police should just let it go?

            • Firethorn says:

              Proportionality. The police are only given so much funding, as is the court system. 100k extra pot possession charges would be a nightmare, even if 90% settle quickly. The justice system jsut isn’t set up for that many at once.

              Due to the limited number of police, it’s also not safe – crowds can be dangerous, even mostly non-agressive pot smokers. One mistake and the cops are in trouble, and just shooting them isn’t really an option – that tends to make martyrs of the killed, costing the police in the long run.

              To keep this in context, I feel the need to point out that I support legalization. It’s not an activity that I think needs to be a crime. Now if they were NAMBLA offering free candy to the kids, KKK proposing a lynching, then I’d support ‘going in’ no matter what the size. Call in the National Guard if necessary.

      • UberGeek says:

        A phrase comes to mind. “How do you eat an elephant?”

        Don’t be fooled, though. This isn’t about preventing anything, it’s about advertising. Past protests proved that CU Boulder and the cops just looking away during the event doesn’t generate a national statement. Staging a half-hearted prevention campaign gives them the appearance of supporting the law while providing the protesters a microphone to reach a national audience.

        As a very progressive college, I suspect the administration actually supports the protest but fears appearing that way to someone or some agency. If they truly wanted to prevent it, they’d get the cops or the feds in there to break it up and possibly make some token arrests. After a year or two people will get the hint and find another avenue for protest.

        On another note, I’d love to hear how the kids figure out a workaround for the smell. Just light up more? Hold a fish BBQ? Maybe the old staple “Incense and Peppermints”? Being ex-military, I’d probably recommend an Army surplus gas mask and use the old trick of modding a canteen cap to smoke cigarettes while wearing it. That solves three problems in one — get a really good buzz on, block the fish smell, and prevent surveillance cameras from capturing recognizable images of you. While you’re at it, paint it black and use the tinted lens covers so you could (all too easily) amuse your friends with your Darth Vader impersonation. Think of all the Star Wars quotes you could abuse!

  9. NeverLetMeDown says:

    I sympathize with the university here (even though, like a previous poster, I’m 100% pro legalization). They’re a public institution, they can’t just sit by and let people blatantly break the law in front of them, but they really don’t want to be out arresting large numbers of people (nor could they, necessarily). Seems like about as low-impact a way of resolving the issue as they’re going to find.

    • Shadowfire says:

      Sure they can. Colleges and Universities have a long history of hosting civil disobedience in order to change the status quo.

      The difference is this is drugs and drugs are bad, mmmkay? Also, Amerikuh.

      • Coffee says:

        Pretty much…this kind of shit happens at many universities, and events are often implicitly supported by many of the faculty, with the administration essentially taking a “don’t ask, don’t tell” attitude toward them. Of course, attending U.C. Berkeley, this was kind of the norm, so things might be different in Colorado…also, the sheer number of people attending is pretty significant in this case, and they probably create a number of legal/health problems for the university should anything untoward happen.

        • Shadowfire says:

          But spreading a fish-based fertilizer could cause no such health problems, right? None at all. ;-)

  10. Grasshopper says:

    “CU will be closing off the entire campus to people who attend or work at the university.”

    Perhaps you should add the word “except” between “campus” and “to”.

  11. GuyGuidoEyesSteveDave‚Ñ¢ says:

    Recently, like within the past week, the local school to me applied both fertilizer and pesticide to their fields. I would assume it’s that time of year.

  12. MathMan aka Random Talker says:

    I thought pot heads liked stinky fish – (Phish) heh.

  13. Lopoetve says:

    I honestly wonder how they’re going to do that… It’s a public campus, spread over many blocks, with public streets going right through it (including several main streets), and several public biking trails/etc. You’d be dividing a section of Boulder almost in half.

    On top of that, with the construction going on right now, several detours go right through campus as well.

  14. Tim says:

    Isn’t there some saying about babies and bath water?

  15. SeattleSeven says:

    Finally! Someone does something about these pot smokers!

    From now on this college campus will entirely drug free. Nice work CU, job well done.

  16. Doughboy says:

    The reporter will sing and Optimus will rise from the dead and…. oh he’s not that Stan? Nothing to see here…

  17. Doughboy says:

    The reporter will sing and Optimus will rise from the dead and…. oh he’s not that Stan? Nothing to see here…

  18. Important Business Man (Formerly Will Print T-shirts For Food) says:

    I smoke my own pot at home. Seriously….

    • Coffee says:

      The biggest obstacle to my doing drugs going into my twenties, and now my thirties, is other people who do drugs. I find that with a few exceptions, I really don’t want to spend time with them. This kind of event would only exacerbate that feeling.

      I swear, if I do drugs again, it will probably be a hallucinogenic, and I will probably be on a hike somewhere, far away from other people.

  19. framitz says:

    Bring a lot of seed and drop it widely, the fertilizer is ON.

    • ChuckECheese says:

      This happens at my current employer, across from a high school with many pot smokers. We like to watch the little plants grow, but eventually maintenance finds them and … well I guess they dispose of them.

  20. FedoraFetish says:

    I want to know how this could be legal to stop people from walking on the grounds of a taxpayer funded public university. Article 13:1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says, “Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state” plus article 27:1 says, “Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.”

    I’m no lawyer, but to me that says you can go around on government property, plus if the school was hosting a show or something you wanted to see that day, you should have the right to do that.

    Also, I don’t for one second buy the “most people doing this are not students claim.” Hogwash, every school makes up this bogus lie to distance themselves from the fact that their students are party animals.

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      1. Just because it’s taxpayer funded, doesn’t mean it’s open to the public at all times, in all ways. The Department of Defense is taxpayer funded, but that doesn’t mean you can swing by a general’s office for a nap on his couch.

      2. “I’m no lawyer” Clearly.

    • bhr says:

      You know that the UDHR is a UN belief statement that has no actual political or legal power?

  21. NumberSix says:

    If there’s one thing pot smokers are sensitive to, it’s bad smells.

    Oh, wait…

  22. krom says:

    Fish fertilizer? As in fertilizer made from dead fish?

    Sounds like a good time to call PETA. :)

    Also, these university officials have clearly never smelled pot smoke. It ain’t Chanel’s new scent, that’s for sure. They really think people who regularly inhale pot smoke will be bothered by fish smell?

  23. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I read this as “College to Use Fertilizer to Prevent Pot from Growing” and thought, what??

    It’s Monday, and I feel like my reading comprehension is lacking :)

  24. ninabi says:

    I have a relative who attends CU-Boulder and finds it very strange that the university spends thousands of dollars on controlling what they consider to be a dangerous situation on 4-20 but turns around and allows the campus to become a complete zoo on football game days, complete with drunks grabbing women. Don’t even get me started about how they look the other way when it comes to allowing professors who have coerced students into having sex with them and sending young women horrifying, threatening messages if they don’t.

    Because of that, I find CU’s stance on 420 to be nothing more than posturing, controlling behavior that has nothing to do with caring about the real safety of students. Another concern is that the areas off-limits on campus will block the entrance to the mental health/counseling building for students.

    For the record, that relative is no fan of pot smoking, either.

  25. bluline says:

    If they can arrest non-students and non-staff for even being on the campus on 4/20, why can’t they arrest those who are smoking pot? What’s the difference?

  26. BazinFS says:

    Anyone else realize how this wouldn’t happen if drugs were legal? While we are fighting this ‘war’ on freedom, 19,500 people will die in Mexico (from the AR’s we sold them).

  27. Memtex784 says:

    So why not charge $100 per head to enter the grounds and make money off the potheads?

  28. proptart says:

    Won’t the fertilizer be there after the “celebration”? Are they going to make the grounds crew work overtime to remove the stinky fish on 4/21? Or is the campus good with making the quad uninhabitable for weeks?

  29. Willy_HSV says:

    The University is looking at this all wrong. They should be charging admission, making them sign waivers, then set up concession stands along the perimeter with overpriced snacks. If you cant beat them… Make a profit off of them!

  30. steal_this_book says:

    Screening such a large, open campus will be tough since CU is quite spread out. Also, I believe Boulder decriminalized marijuana several years ago so it may be a stretch to get city and county cops to provide enough support in actually arresting people. They’re generally involved in crowd control, but the penalties for smoking cigarettes in Boulder are higher than for smoking pot.