CU Campus Police: Identify a Pot Smoker and Collect Some Cash

April 2006

If you had any doubt that Big Brother is not just out to catch the terrorists in our midst, look no further than this website of the University police at C.U. Boulder, offering reward money to those who identify photos of pot-smoking students. The date in question: April 20, a date that marijuana users gather every year around the country to protest marijuana laws by smoking in public. The place: Farrand Field in Boulder.

The largest known celebration of this kind has been held annually for the past decade at the University of Colorado's Farrand Field in Boulder, Colorado, where protestors gather at 4:20 PM to smoke cannabis. In 2005, responding to negative press that year, University Police made their first attempt to disperse the gathering. They posted signs saying students were not allowed on the field that afternoon. After the field was overrun by an estimated 2000 or more students, police declined to issue any citations, as with past years. They did, however, turn the sprinklers on in an attempt to disperse the crowd. In another attempt to stop the celebration in 2006, the University put up signs telling students Farrand Field was closed for the afternoon, and even hired event staff to keep students from going onto the field. This, however, was a failed attempt, as thousands gathered around the field, only to storm it at around 4 o'Clock.

Here's the website pitch which accompanies the photos police took of those who assembled:

The University is offering a reward for the identification of any of the individuals pictured below. After reviewing the photos (click on a photo for a larger image), you may claim the reward by following the directions below: 1. Contact the UCPD Operations section at (303) 492-8168 2. Provide the photo number and as much information as you have about the individual. 3. Provide your name and contact information. 4. If the identity is verified to be correct, you will be paid a $50 reward for every person identified. 5. The reward will be paid to the first caller who identifies a person below, multiple rewards will not be paid for individuals listed below.

Question: What happens to the students who are identified? Police say those in the photos "are not likely to be charged with anything -- but the university will level fines on their students and that money will be used to up the reward fund. " If that's true, this is nothing but a shaming punishment and a hold-up. This is a scary exercise of power. Possession of less than 1 ounce of marijuana is a petty offense punishable by a $100.00 fine and no jail time. Peaceful assembly is lawful. Protest is an honored tradition in our nation. What's next? Are the immigration police going to be out in force on Monday gathering photos of the undocumented during the one day work stoppage? While immigration officers say they won't be showing up, this a slippery slope indeed.

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