ASU has high expectations for 4/20

Everything an ASU student should know in preparation for the April 20 holiday

It might be hazy around campus the third weekend in April, and this time it's not a haboob.

The upcoming marijuana holiday on Friday, April 20, or 4/20, is highly anticipated all around the world. At ASU, students have options to either shop the local smoke shops for discounts or learn more about drug policies through educational sessions. 

How high is ASU?

According to the Live Well @ ASU website, a survey conducted by the American College Health Association in 2017 found that 86 percent of ASU students do not use marijuana. 

While this percentage may seem large, marijuana use on all four ASU campuses is not altogether uncommon and comes with consequences.

In 2016, 301 drug-related arrests were made on-campus property and 174 drug-related arrests were made in on-campus students housing facilities on the Tempe campus alone.

Matthew Lopez, a local Tempe DUI and criminal defense attorney, has been representing around 10 ASU students per semester in marijuana-related cases for the past eight years. 

Lopez said while he deals with marijuana-related charges frequently, they are not the most common offense he represents ASU students for. 

“I don’t think it is as prolific as alcohol-related offenses,” Lopez said. 

Lopez said marijuana charges are often downplayed by the offenders because their charges are rarely filed promptly after the original incident occurred. 

He said it is important to take a proactive approach to addressing drug-related offenses because the consequences vary widely.

"Worst case scenario, it could be a felony or conviction on a person's record and then best case scenario, it could be a case dismissal,” Lopez said. 

Fines for marijuana-related charges can range from $750 to $150,000 depending on the number of previous offenses, amount of weed found and intentions of possession.

ASU on 4/20

ASU PD spokesperson Katy Harris said the consequences marijuana use by students are pretty standard – the University prohibits use and possession on any properties owned or leased by ASU and students with a medical marijuana card are not permitted to use marijuana on campus or in residential halls.

“Those caught using marijuana at ASU are subject to both disciplinary action and arrest,” Harris said. 

As far as ASU police activity on April 20 goes, Harris said it is business as usual.

“We aren’t going to do anything different,” Harris said. “The only difference on 4/20 is ASU Police Dispatch may receive an increase of reports regarding marijuana use.”

Wellness professionals, professors and students are leading conversations in the ASU community to educate the community about the legality and effects of marijuana usage.

From a wellness standpoint, students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with resources ranging from informational videos to personalized counseling.

The University purchased a program tailored specifically for ASU, Marijuana eCHECKUP TO GO, which is designed as a resource to provide students a personalized, comprehensive evaluation of the ways marijuana impacts their lives financially, socially and physically.

Beyond the impacts of marijuana usage on an individual level, education regarding local and national policies surrounding marijuana are also important parts of the conversation. 

Jessica Berch, a lecturer at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, was invited to write an article as part of a symposium on marijuana federalism, published in the Boston College Law Review.

After studying marijuana federalism for her article, she said she has been hooked on the topic ever since. 

Berch said Arizona’s history with marijuana legalization is turbulent. In 2016, voters narrowly rejected Proposition 205, which would have legalized recreational marijuana for individuals 21 years and older. While the possibility for full legalization remains plausible, both state and federal political landscapes stand as potential roadblocks to such legalization. 

“Arizona faces two obstacles to full legalization: not only is the federal government looking to reassert its authority in this area, but also Arizona has a Republican-controlled legislature that has historically disfavored legalization,” Berch said.

The Students for Sensible Drug Policy is a student organization dedicated to educating students on drug policy. 

President of the club and global studies senior Cody Holt said the club aims to shift the conversation surrounding drug legalization and drug use. 

"Ultimately, the goal is to reform the drug policy to be less punitive, so instead of putting people in jail, they can be more healthcare based, more reform based and target the people that are in need the most," Holt said. 

Holt said the organization also strives to make the conversation surrounding drug policy less taboo. 

The club promotes a more progressive conversation toward reforming the justice and health care systems and how they handle drug-related situations.

"Drug policy still kind of has a taboo to it because of the word 'drug,'" Holt said. "We want to rephrase the language. Instead of just being drug policy, it can be a question of how to reform the criminal justice system."

The club will be holding informational events outside of the Memorial Union and Stauffer Communication Arts A Building on April 20 to promote a dialogue about marijuana usage and policies in the community.

Weed around ASU

Businesses around the downtown Phoenix and Tempe campuses will also be holding events for the holiday. 

Map includes quotes from individual business owners about 4/20 deals and specials.

Bud's Glass Joint, a popular smoke shop in downtown Phoenix, will be hosting a big 4/20 event with raffles, live music and live glass blowing. 

Bud's normally offers a 15 percent discount for students. Shay Jennings, manager of the store, said she expects to see a lot of ASU students at the event.

“There’s going to be a free raffle. If you come, you’re going to leave with something,” Jennings said. “I’m sure a lot of college students will be attracted to that.” 

HIGH Maintenance Smoke Shop and Hippie Gypsy, both located on Mill Avenue, will also be hosting sales in honor of the holiday. 

HIGH Maintenance Smoke Shop, which regularly offers 10 percent discounts for students, is holding a sale the entire week of 4/20 – April 15 to 22 — offering 20 to 50 percent off all items in the store.

Tom Walker, manager of the HIGH Maintenance Smoke Shop, said that ASU students are frequent customers of HIGH Maintenance. 

“A lot of ASU students come in here on the reg,” Walker said. “4/20 is a big culture for sure.”

Hippie Gypsy will be holding a raffle and sale starting at 4:20 p.m. on April 19. 

Phillip Moore, an employee at Hippie Gypsy, said he has worked on 4/20 in the past and has seen a growth in interest for the holiday, and marijuana legalization in general.  

“There’s definitely a community of students for 4/20,” Moore said. “With marijuana becoming medicinally legal here over the past couple years, I’ve seen a lot of students become a lot more educated on the products and with that, 4/20 has sort of bloomed.”

20 weed classics for 4/20.

For those not interested in smoke shops, the Phoenix location Cheba Hut, the late night sandwich shop, will be holding a massive 4/20 party with live music, glass blowing and of course, munchies.

"ASU happens to be one of those colleges that like to have a good time, so I would say it's a large culture out here," said Madrid Marlof, an employee of Hippie Gypsy.


Reach the reporters at goldham@asu.edu and mmbarbe3@asu.edu and follow @graceoldham123 and @meganbarbera_ on Twitter. 

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