Many of us may look back fondly on hazy nights in college, getting stoned in someone’s dorm room, but at some schools, students make an entire celebration out of 4/20, as a way to make this day smoking weed different from all other days.
Not surprisingly, schools in Colorado and California seem to celebrate 4/20 the best, according to a sampling of those interviewed for this story. The adult use laws in both states now allow for anyone over 21 to legally possess marijuana — good news for senior stoners.
Whether you’re reminiscing about college, or considering where you should send your own kids, here’s a roundup of campuses with the best cannabis culture, and the best 4/20 festivities.
University of California, Santa Cruz
When surveyed on social media, the majority of respondents agreed that UC Santa Cruz by and far had the best 4/20 celebration. Thousands show up, from the school and by bus from other parts of the state to get high on the campus’ Porter Meadow, and the hiking trails nearby. While other schools have daylong festivals, such as Picnic Day at UC Davis or Cal Day at UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz has 4/20. On this day, the campus looks less like a school and more like a grungy, less organized music festival — or another version of Golden Gate Park’s hippie hill, just a couple dozen miles south.
University of Colorado, Boulder
Students have been celebrating 4/20 long before the state legalized weed. While school administration and police tried for years to stop the massive celebration, it was always too big to control. Now that it’s legal for adults to possess cannabis (though not necessarily to smoke in public) they have even less of a hold. Boulder’s 4/20 celebrations have garnered tens of thousands of people, for gatherings such as “smoke outs” on Norlin Quad or Farrand Field. In 2011, a year after Colorado legalized, over 25,000 people showed up.
University of California, Berkeley
At 4:20 pm on 4/20, students gather on Memorial Glade, a grassy field in the center of campus. Even from afar, you can see and smell the smoky haze surrounding hundreds, if not thousands, of kids, descended upon the lawn and surrounded by libraries, trees, and classroom buildings. Campus police look the other way, as there’s no stopping them. In the past, some students have carried furniture like couches out from their own homes to sesh more comfortably on the glade.
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Michigan’s “Hash Bash” takes place not actually on 4/20, but during the first week of April. The event is something of a cannabis cup, with weed competitions, live performances, celebrity guests, vendors, glass blowers, and so on, all at the university. Like the other campus cannabis celebrations, hundreds to thousands gather for the event. The first hash bash took place in 1972, in a response to a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that it was unconstitutional to convict activist John Sinclair for the possession of two joints.