Photo by Nita-Rose Evans.
Photo by Nita-Rose Evans.
Photo by Nita Rose-Evans.
Photo by Devika Agarwal.

The weather forecast called for rain, but a crowd of hundreds descended on the Porter Meadow for this year’s 4/20 celebration.

The Porter Meadow gathering on 4/20 is an unofficial annual event at UC Santa Cruz, and each year draws a crowd of hundreds to smoke marijuana openly in the clearing behind Porter College. While some participants wore shirts in support of legalizing marijuana, many students told City on a Hill Press that the 4/20 celebration is primarily about having fun and enjoying the start of spring.

“Everyone is excited to be in the sun, and just wants to have a good time,” said a second-year student who wished to remain anonymous.

The University does not sanction the gathering, as the main event is against the law.

In an effort to prevent non-UCSC students from attending, guests were not allowed in the residence halls from April 19 until April 21, and entrances to campus were patrolled by police officers on April 20 itself. Bus routes were also modified to avoid the west side of campus after 3 p.m., and firefighters were on site to handle any emergencies that might arise.

One firefighter told City on a Hill Press said that their mission is not to interfere with the activities going on, but to provide a public service.

“We are really here only to provide help if anyone needs it,” he said.

Despite attempts by the University to prevent the migration of non-UCSC students to the event that has evolved over the years into a marijuana culture mecca, many participants at this year’s event were not affiliated with the university.

One middle-aged man, who asked to remain anonymous, said he chose to attend the unofficial event after his son, a fourth-year student, talked him into it.

As he sat in a tree above the many groups of people openly smoking marijuana, he said the scene reminded him of his youth.

“I feel as if I am being transported back 40 years into my past,” he said, “and that’s a really positive thing.”