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420 celebrations look a little different at UC Santa Cruz

Police make their presence felt

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATED 4/20/17 7:43 PM: It's April 20th and, for many, that means an unofficial holiday celebrating marijuana. You've probably heard of it by now, 4/20. Here on the Central Coast, the go-to place for 4/20 is the campus of UC Santa Cruz.

It's one of the most liberal universities in the country and also a destination for those wanting celebrate 4/20.

"It's more of a family vibe. I've been coming here for years as well and it's just more comfortable coming here than anywhere else" Kameron Lofton, who was participating.

Most of the UC Santa Cruz 420 activities happen at Porter Meadow on campus. The students shared the space with UC Santa Cruz police. 

That's because it's against the law to use marijuana on campus. Even though the passage of Proposition 64 back in November made it legal in California, it doesn't apply to UCSC.

"We're a federally funded institution, under federal law, marijuana's not allowed on campus either" said Chief Nadar Oweis with the UC Santa Cruz Police department.

Oweis and his officers have been at work enforcing that law. They're doing it with some help from CHP and officers from other UC campuses.

At one point during the day, there were more officers than students at Porter Meadow. Chief Oweis says that the police presence is all in an effort to maintain safety.

"We're really concerned about public safety, we're concerned about the individuals either being dehydrated" said Oweis." "Not just using marijuana but some other kind of drug and then having negative effects from that."

Though the number of officers may have kept some students away during the day, it didn't affect everyone's 4/20 experience.

"I don't mind them being here because they're going to take care of people other than me" said 420 participant Taylor Dolphin. "I'm not trying to do anything period."

PREVIOUS STORY: Celebrations for 420 day are underway at the University of California, Santa Cruz. This is the first 420 after the passage of proposition 64, which made it legal for individuals to grow and use marijuana. We'll hear a story from KION's Zach Fuentes that is coming up tonight on the news at 6 p.m.

Since the university is a federal institution, smoking marijuana on campus is illegal. UC Santa Cruz Police Chief Nader Oweis is taking that seriously.

On Thursday afternoon at Porter Meadow, where the 420 activities mostly take place, there were more than a dozen police officers. That's close to or more than the number of people participating in 420.

Oweis says they're not only out to ticket people and says safety is also a big concern. Learn more at 6 p.m. on about what campus police have done to ensure that order is kept on 420.


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