More than a dozen police officers patrolled the perimeter of the Norlin Quadrangle at the University of Colorado at Boulder campus at 4:20 p.m. today, but there was no one there to attempt to revive what was once a big, annual 4/20 smokeout.

This was the third year officials closed the campus to outsiders to shut down the event, which at its height drew some 10,000 tokers. Both this year and last year, the campus closure was enough to shut down the event. This year, no one was arrested or cited.

"We had what we would consider our third successful year," said CU spokesman Ryan Huff. "People were very cooperative."

Starting at noon, the campus was closed to everyone except faculty members, staff members, students and those with visitor passes.

Police officers blocked parking lots and were stationed at all the entrances to the campuses, checking IDs. Police on bikes and motorcycles also patrolled the campus to enforce marijuana laws.

This is the first 4/20 after recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado on Jan. 1. However, campus officials noted that consuming marijuana in public or by people who are under 21 is still illegal. Smoking is banned on the Boulder campus.

"People who really want to smoke will go to Denver today," said sophomore Colleen Clay.

Denver's 4/20 rally started Saturday at Civic Center Park and continued today. The event was expected to draw as many as 80,000 people, with the prospect of legal marijuana drawing those from out-of-state.


CU freshman Chris Rouw said it seemed like a typical Sunday on campus, just maybe a little quieter because of Easter -- and, he said, he's happy to have campus shut down to keep it that way.

"It's nice to be able to do your own thing on campus without crowds of people," he said.

But freshman Libby Cerutti said closing the campus felt like overkill, especially now that marijuana is legal.

"It makes it look like a big deal, when it's not," she said.

Check points are located at every road and walkway leading on to the CU campus.
Check points are located at every road and walkway leading on to the CU campus. ( Cliff Grassmick )

Though campus officials won't say how many police officers and other security personnel have been present April 20 in years past, last year the university spent $107,794 to close the campus, which includes the cost of having extra police and other agencies on hand.

That money comes from insurance rebates, campus officials have said.

Police officers started removing the yellow tape blocking off the Norlin Quad at 4:25 p.m. today. Though the campus was supposed to remain closed to outsiders until 6 p.m., signs were taken down and police officers left their posts around campus shortly after 4:20 p.m.

CU's Huff said he couldn't specify the number of police officers involved in closing campus, but said a large number were needed to cover a variety of scenarios, including the possibility of a large crowd.

University Police patrol the campus on Sunday.
University Police patrol the campus on Sunday. ( Cliff Grassmick )

He said officials will evaluate whether campus needs to be closed for a fourth year in a row, adding that 4/20 will fall on a Monday next year -- when there will be more people on campus than on a Sunday.

"We're pleased that we don't have these disruptions to our campus," he said.