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Four Twenty 2009 at UC Santa Cruz
Each year on April 20th, at 4:20pm, people celebrate and smoke cannabis together. One of the biggest gathering spots in California, perhaps the biggest, is Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz. It's a large event for the whole community - a place where thousands of people can have a picnic, play with musical instruments, frisbees, kites, you name it, and just have fun. It's in a safe and relatively secluded location and problems are rare.
In past years, the usual practice has been for a police officer and an administrator to come by towards 5:30 and urge people to move on. By that time, most folks have been there for a few hours and are pretty much ready to go, so the event gradually fizzles out.
However, by April 20th, 2007, something changed. Administrators became increasingly paranoid and reactionary over student protests and decided to assemble a large group of police and administrators in the meadow an hour before 4:20. Then, the story goes, as large numbers of students started arriving at Porter, they marched down to the meadow and retook the space from the police and administrators, initiating the yearly 420 festivities again as the majority of police and administrators dispersed.
On April 20th, 2008, blocked roads leading up to campus failed to prevent thousands of students from around the Monterey and San Francisco Bay Areas from participating in a huge Four Twenty celebration in Porter Meadow. Despite the increased prohibitions initiated by the UCSC administration to curtail the unorganized convergence, folks showed they were determined to experience Four Twenty as one large group of people in the Porter Meadow.
In an April 7th, 2009 message to students, UCSC's Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs writes that Four Twenty "diminishes UCSC’s reputation and draws negative attention to the campus" and then goes on to list numerous restrictions curtailing the ability for students to associate with their friends and move freely around campus. Students are vowing to defy UCSC's “no-guest” policy, while pointing out that UCSC is an open and public campus.
With April 20th, 2009 upon us, and despite UCSC's authoritarian mandates, plans are well underway to ensure that, once again, the biggest cannabis celebration around will be at Porter Meadow, UC Santa Cruz.