Admitted students visit UVM on 4/20

This April 20, at least 1,000 extra people will be on campus, but not to smoke pot on the redstone green — it’s for admitted students and parents to tour the school.

UVM has a reputation as one of the best schools for marijuana smokers, and it’s ranked No. 15 on the Princeton Review’s “top 20 biggest weed schools,” according to the Huffington Post. It’s tradition at UVM for students to gather on the redstone green April 20 each year and smoke weed.

“I’ve been here since 1981, and I’ve seen at times on 4/20 where there’s literally over 1,000 people, but it goes in cycles,” UVM police Lt. Larry Magnant said. UVM police are trained to police 4/20 festivities, he said. “We pray for rain,” Magnant said. “We just want to make sure that there is some kind of order, that someone doesn’t start becoming disorderly or intimidating other people that could start a fight,” he said. “We’re ultimately focused on personal safety.”

Last year on admitted students day Michael Werner, an incoming first-year, said he was caught smoking marijuana and given a ticket by police services. “Well the admitted students day was the day after 4/20, but obviously I came down early to just settle in and what not,” Werner said. “I came up with my friends, we were just walking around campus, we knew what was going down, so we just walked over here [redstone green].”

“It was like 4:10 and we saw people smoking everywhere, and we were like alright it’s chill, we can smoke, and then the cops came from behind us,” he said. As part of Werner’s ticket, the court required he take six weeks of therapy and drug education classes, which cost much more than the weed he had on him, he said.

“In the end, it cost me $800 for being caught with a [$20] bag of weed” Werner said. Despite his experience on admitted students day, Werner still wanted to come to UVM. “It still kicks ass here” he said.

Marijuana was decriminalized in Vermont in 2013 for possession under an ounce, which are considered civil violations instead of criminal violations, like a parking or speeding ticked for example. “We have confiscated some marijuana in past 4/20 celebrations, but now that law is different,” Magnant said.

If Vermont Sen. David Zuckerman’s recently proposed bill passes, a legal market for licensed businesses to sell marijuana to adults 21 and older would be established. Adults would be allowed to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow two mature marijuana plants and seven immature plants inside, according to a marijuana policy project press release. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public or drive while under the influence of marijuana, according to the press release, so it’s unclear as to how this would affect UVM’s 4/20 festivities.

Regardless of the legality of UVM’s 4/20 gathering, Director of Admissions Beth Wiser, said having admitted students day on 4/20 will have no impact on admissions. “We’re not going to hide or change our schedule as a result of what a small portion of our population chooses to do,” Wiser said. Residence hall tours will continue as planned, she said.

“We’ve had admitted students days that have coincided with 4/20 for as long as we’ve been doing admitted students days,” Wiser said. Part of living on UVM’s campus involves abiding by UVM’s policy, which prohibits marijuana and paraphernalia on campus.