Annual 4/20 gathering on Memorial Glade draws crowd of more than 2,000

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Karen Chow/Senior Staff

The scent of marijuana floated over Memorial Glade on Friday as more than 2,000 students gathered to celebrate “4/20 on the Glade.”

People gathered on the glade as early as noon, even though a Facebook event hosted by the UC Berkeley Memes for Edgy Teens page anticipated that student attendance would peak between 3:20 p.m. and 5:20 p.m. Student groups, such as Berkeley College Republicans, set up concession stands and sold food around the glade.

Campus junior Angel Solorzano said his 4/20 experience reminded him what legalizing marijuana means on a deeper level.

“I know that I should just be having fun, but I can’t help but intellectualize with friends and strangers, the meaning behind today’s events,” Solorzano said. “(Legalizing) weed dismantles its artificial public portrayal as ‘deadly’ and ‘criminal’ — putting an end to decades of harassment. This is a recreational activity that is quite trivial on an individual level when you stop and think about it.”

Berkeley College Republicans attended the event, with the hopes of raising $600 for an animal shelter by selling In-N-Out burgers on the glade. De-stress with Dogs also attended, selling cookies and lighters featuring custom decals of the club’s dogs; the club sold at least 100 lighters.

Campus senior and incoming graduate student Patton Nguyen ran a booth on the glade that was called “Breathe Tobacco Free.” Nguyen was conducting a research study with environmental health sciences professor Katharine Hammond — his goal was to spread knowledge on household exposures to marijuana particles, or HEMP.

Nguyen’s investigation centered around what happens when people “hot-box,” or smoke marijuana in an enclosed room or vehicle. Nguyen described Memorial Glade as the “perfect location” for distributing information on the ways marijuana potentially compromises health and said he is working with the Tang Center to spread awareness as well.

“(This is a) campaign to ask people to not smoke on campus and be mindful of others,” Nguyen said.

Contact Nicholas Olivares at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @nicholivares.

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