Although the growing sentiment towards legalizing marijuana has been generally understood by California policemen, Santa Cruz police confiscated a 2.5 pound joint from festival goers and UCSC students on April 20th, 2014. Marijuana is certainly legal in states like Colorado and Washington, but not for recreational use in Santa Cruz. Even with marijuana’s illegal standing, these students and festival attendees are known as the people being a conduit of hippie culture, having some of the most legendary 4/20 traditions.
This year’s 4/20 was not going to be any different, students gathered near campus to blatantly and freely smoke weed outdoors. The student body smokers and festival goers made no attempts to hide their marijuana use, which unfortunately allows for the easy attraction of police and law enforcement. Being in an open environment makes it relatively easy for police to spot an unorthodox or potentially hazardous marijuana consumption. It has been reported that sometimes police will even confiscate small dime bags, pieces and bongs from users who are not prescribed a medical license. These realities make the pot smokers swirl and swarm like schools of fish avoiding sharks. There are simply to many of them for the police to check each one; this is why policemen were relieved when they struck the mother load with this 2.5 pound joint.
The four-foot-long, 2.5 pound joint was estimated to be worth $5,000 – $6,000 dollars and exceeded the California state’s one ounce legal limit for those who carry a medical marijuana license, by nearly 35 times. People were protesting that enough medical marijuana licensed people could ban-together in a joint-custody of the joint, (no pun intended). The policemen were at least courteous enough not to arrest the student who was responsible for the massive doobie.
Throughout the country on April 20th people celebrated in the smoking of the herb, some legally but most illegally. This joint owner was lucky to be in a city such as Santa Cruz, California, which has a youth culture that embraces freedom of recreational activities. In all likelihood, if the joint were to be found in a state like Arizona, a young college student may be sentenced to significant jail time, ruining his chances at getting a good career.
The news that California Police confiscated a 2.5 pound joint at the university festival spread throughout the crowd. As the policeman walked through the school of students with the artillery sized joint, the previous owner of the joint walked beside him yelling at the officer for stealing his property. Both men exchanged threats of meeting in court, calling one another liars and unjust. It is hard to determine if the previous joint owner is going to feel the same way later down the road.
It is imperative that even with the illegal standing of the marijuana plant, that we as advocates continue to inspire others to execute their right to freely pursue their happiness, with their right to life and liberty from government tyranny. I believe that was the message behind the 2.5 pound joint the police felt obligated to confiscate. After all he could not have smoked it alone, and he was at the California University Santa Cruz 4/20 festival.
Opinion By: Zane Foley