For the fifth or tenth or maybe even twentieth year in a row, hundreds of students gathered on Foss Hill at 4:20 on April 20 to submerge the Middletown skyline in a sea of smoke as potent as any since the Grateful Dead serenaded Foss in 1970. Only this time Dean Rick Culliton gave the practice a name. He called it “protesting existing marijuana laws.” Did you have a civically engaged weekend?
Leave it to students to give it a hashtag:
Once again, the weather was quite a bit friendlier to 4/20 than it’s been to Spring Fling in recent years, and members of Public Safety harshed some students’ mellow by tramping around with video cameras and stamping out joints left and right.
It’s 4/20 and WesFest is over! Here’s what happened when I tried to find out why.
Scenes from WesFest 2009, which narrowly avoided falling on 4/20.
Why is this WesFest different from all other WesFests?
The answer is so obvious you may not have realized it: WesFest began on a Wednesday rather than a Thursday this year and, as per the official schedule, it’s now over. But the weekend is only getting started! What gives?
The issue first came to my attention way back in November, when the Office of Admissions tried pushing WesFest to a Mon-Tues-Wed format and some WSA members registered their discontent. Noticing that 4/20 falls this year on the third Saturday of April (traditionally the last day of WesFest), the reasoning seemed pretty obvious:
As Dean Culliton reminded us yesterday, it’s no secret that the powers that be are a little squeamish about traditional 4/20 proceedings. Add prefrosh to the mix, and it’s an entirely new crisis. This story is well recounted in Jacques Steinberg’s The Gatekeepers, when a student is waitlisted after writing her college essay about getting caught with a weed brownie in high school; she subsequently visits Wesleyan on April 20, 2000, and feels stung by the hypocrisy of it all. The most recent time WesFest fell on 4/20 was 2008, when Director of ResLife Fran Koerting was quoted in the Argus as saying that Admissions would not let the two holidays overlap again. Apparently the problem was that if students were smoking marijuana on Foss Hill, prefrosh might think that “anything goes on here”:
This past Friday, we posted coverage of P-Safe officers displaying a newfound interest in photography as an—ahem—relaxed crowd of students spent 4/20 on Foss. The post garnered a number of speculative comments. P-Safe can’t actually use the footage, assured a few hasty replies:
From my WSA days, I learned PSAFE uses the cameras as a deterrent. They CANNOT use the footage in SJB hearings as evidence against you. They do it to freak you out but it has no judicial weight.
Not so, suggests a brief story on the front page of today’s Argus. Glance at the fine print below Andy Ribner ’14’s fantastic photo and recoil: there’s a rather explicit heads-up from your friendly neighborhood P-Safe director Dave Meyer:
Director of PSafe Dave Meyer said that PSafe will use the footage to identify students engaging in drug use and send them to the Student Judicial Board.
You’re on my camera, too, but contact us if you want a specific photo removed.
Happy 4/20, y’all—the hills are alive with the sound of P-Safe officers stomping out joints left and right. For the first time since Tour De Franzia last spring, P-Safe officers brought out the video cameras and pushed sternly through the crowd, filming your stoned faces like Michael Bay crossed with your mom. Anyone know where this footage is going? Michael Roth? Admissions information sessions? The Wesleyan Parents’ Listserv?
Special shout-out to the horse head, the carnival tent, the mariachi band, and the MINDS members giving out baked goods for Facebook likes. For previous 4/20s on the hill, click here, here, here, here, or here.
Roll on for a full gallery, brah.
James He ’11 wants to help you get your hemp on while you . . . err . . . get your hemp on:
Come out to purchase some hemp shirts and wear the most comfortable tees on 4/20. Super Ego Clothiers is ran by alumni James He ’11, Matthew Narkaus ’11, Ian Pearson ’10, and current student Tommie Lark ’12. It is an eco-friendly clothing line which prides itself on making the most comfortable T-Shirts in America. (Made from 60% Hemp and 40% Organic Cotton.)
Date: 4/20, brah
Time: all day, pretty much?
Place: Outside Usdan
Cost: $20 per shirt
[This image courtesy of The ‘Cac, a new(ish) blog about life in the NESCAC. Seriously—check it out. I especially recommend Stuff NESCAC Students Like. So much so, I think I’m just gonna repost it after the jump. Keep reading . . . ]
In our rush to publish WSA candidates’ statements, we seem to have missed acknowledgment of one of the generation’s most potent political movements. This is an egregious error, and we apologize. Thankfully, a true model citizen among us—John Ryan ’14—has taken it upon himself to speak on Giant Joint’s behalf. Full statement after the jump. I’ve decided to preserve Joint’s original preferred, unorthodox formatting because, you know, why not? Vote here, and please, for the love of God, if you’re voting for Giant J Joint, be consistent this time.
Or, “Ich Bin Ein Deadhead”
So, turns out Wes isn’t the only place with a near-mythical interest in gigantic physical manifestations of marijuana culture (freshpersons: click and learn). This one’s technically a plant, all dressed up for the holidays and no place to go. Huff Post reports today on a German man who decorated a six-foot tall marijuana plant in his home with traditional Christmas ornaments and planned to put presents under it. Unfortunately, our hero’s festive mellow was harshed pretty hardcore when policed discovered the fantastical case of Puff the Magic Christmas Tree and arrested him on drug possession charges:
“The marijuana plant had been put in a Christmas tree stand and decorated with a string of lights,” officers said in a statement, according to the AFP. “When asked, the hashish fan told the perplexed officers that he had intended to add more decorations to the ‘tree’ and place the presents under it, according to tradition.” Times Live reports that 150 grams of marijuana had been found in the man’s home in Koblenz before the tree was discovered.
Let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. I’m not sure what my favorite of the many reader comments is, but for now I’ll call it a tie between “Brilliant and environmentally conscientious … using a renewable plant” and “See, Europe can be as stupid as America.” Merry Christmas, all.