It’s 4:20. Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

By El Marco

Did you come to Boulder, Colorado for a good education or a good party?  Have your folks paid the University of Colorado $38,000 a year for out of state tuition or $19,000 a year for in-state or illegal alien tuition?  Did your parents hope to give their little angel the opportunity to improve themselves for a happy successful future? Here’s a story about some of the extracurricular activities that can torch their dream and blow their little darling’s mind.

Annually, on 4/20, at 4:20 p.m. there is a “Smoke Out” on CU Boulder campus. This year’s crowd was certainly over 10,000. This was the scene at 3:30 PM. Most attendees were already well on their way to a parallel universe, but the big bang was still 50 minutes in the future.

420 is a term for meeting to smoke marijuana. It started with a small clique in California who met after school to get stoned. Then as the legend goes, the dog ate their homework.

Although the 420 marijuana protest at CU Boulder limits its advocacy to the legalization of cannabis, when asked the question, almost everyone I spoke to said they were in favor of legalizing all drugs. Ecstasy, LSD, Coke, Mushrooms, Mescaline, have been an integral part of campus drug culture for years and are inseparable from any conversation about marijuana legalization. The drugs listed are generally used in combination with Marijuana and obtained from the same sources. Meth, crack, heroin and a host of specialty concoctions are also available.

When I posed questions about drug use above and beyond pot smoking I got answers like an enthusiastic “Hell Ya” or “the works!!” from surprisingly innocent looking kids. The guy in the photo below surprised me by responding “anything I can get my hands on!!” when I asked him if his shirt referred to alcohol.


“There is a progression in the minds of men: first the unthinkable becomes thinkable, and then it becomes an orthodoxy whose truth seems so obvious that no one remembers that anyone ever thought differently. This is just what is happening with the idea of legalizing drugs: it has reached the stage when millions of thinking men are agreed that allowing people to take whatever they like is the obvious, indeed only, solution to the social problems that arise from the consumption of drugs.”  Theodore Dalrymple

Look like Barbie smoke like Marley is a reference to Bob Marley the international drug culture icon from Jamaica. Believe El Marco, Barbie, you will never “smoke like Marley”.

I had the opportunity to photograph Mr. Marley before his early death from lung cancer which spread to his brain. I am well versed in the belief system, or lack thereof, of the Rastas of Jamaica. At age 16 I hitch-hiked  from Toronto to Miami and caught a cheap roundtrip ($65) to Montego Bay. I was on the verge of becoming an early anarcho-primitivist at the time. My misadventures traveling alone in Jamaica helped turn me around in the long run. But not soon enough to prevent me from dropping out of grade 10. I met many characters like Marley and learned a lot about them.

The main lesson was that some people will believe almost anything and that massive pot smoking doesn’t help the situation. Incoherent messianic mythology doesn’t begin to describe the Rastafarian worldview. Thats something the Rastas have in common with leftists worldwide.  The real tragedy of Bob Marley is not that he died so young. It’s that his “legend” has influenced so many young people from Bali to Boulder to abandon school and learning and descend into a world of marijuana dependency and countercultural nihilism.

Bob Marley in Concert by El Marco

Some of Marley’s stump-toothed followers from a previous generation were on hand to impart their universal wisdom to a new crop of “rebels.”

“Marijuana users themselves report poor outcomes on a variety of measures of life satisfaction and achievement. A recent study compared current and former long-term heavy users of marijuana with a control group who reported smoking cannabis at least once in their lives, but not more than 50 times. Despite similar education and incomes in their families of origin, significant differences were found on educational attainment and income between heavy users and the control group: fewer of the cannabis users completed college and more had household incomes of less than $30,000.

When asked how marijuana affected their cognitive abilities, career achievements, social lives, and physical and mental health, the overwhelming majority of heavy cannabis users reported the drug’s deleterious effect on all of these measures.”  NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE – (NIDA)

A recent study of over 300 fraternal and identical twin pairs, who differed on whether or not they used marijuana before the age of 17, found that those who had used marijuana early had elevated rates of other drug use and drug problems later on, compared with their twins, who did not use marijuana before age 17. This study re-emphasizes the importance of primary prevention by showing that early drug initiation is associated with increased risk of later drug problems, and it provides more evidence for why preventing marijuana experimentation during adolescence could have an impact on preventing addiction. – NIDA

This relic wandered around asking people if they had received their stimulus checks yet. He told me he got his $600, and he’s going to spend it all at the smoke out. I overheard him going through the crowd later repeating the same routine to others.

Great T-shirt on the right says MAKE AWKWARD SEXUAL ADVANCES, NOT WAR.  Get high and meet chicks!  Note Marley girl on left with her munchies in hand.  Looks like the young lady second from left is making her own advances.  Feelin Lucky!   Couple of cuties there guys!

“…no society until our own has had to contend with the ready availability of so many different mind-altering drugs, combined with a citizenry jealous of its right to pursue its own pleasures in its own way.”   –  Theodore Dalrymple

“…in a free society, adults should be permitted to do whatever they please, always provided that they are prepared to take the consequences of their own choices and that they cause no direct harm to others. The locus classicus for this point of view is John Stuart Mill’s famous essay On Liberty: “The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of the community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others,” Mill wrote. “His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant.” This radical individualism allows society no part whatever in shaping, determining, or enforcing a moral code: in short, we have nothing in common but our contractual agreement not to interfere with one another as we go about seeking our private pleasures.

Addiction to, or regular use of, most currently prohibited drugs cannot affect only the person who takes them—and not his spouse, children, neighbors, or employers. No man, except possibly a hermit, is an island…”   Theodore Dalrymple

“We all value freedom, and we all value order; sometimes we sacrifice freedom for order, and sometimes order for freedom. But once a prohibition has been removed, it is hard to restore, even when the newfound freedom proves to have been ill-conceived and socially disastrous.

Even Mill came to see the limitations of his own principle as a guide for policy and to deny that all pleasures were of equal significance for human existence. It was better, he said, to be Socrates discontented than a fool satisfied. Mill acknowledged that some goals were intrinsically worthier of pursuit than others.”   Theodore Dalrymple


“This being the case, not all freedoms are equal, and neither are all limitations of freedom: some are serious and some trivial. The freedom we cherish—or should cherish—is not merely that of satisfying our appetites, whatever they happen to be. We are not Dickensian Harold Skimpoles, exclaiming in protest that “Even the butterflies are free!” We are not children who chafe at restrictions because they are restrictions. And we even recognize the apparent paradox that some limitations to our freedoms have the consequence of making us freer overall. The freest man is not the one who slavishly follows his appetites and desires throughout his life…”     Theodore Dalrymple

“It might be argued that the freedom to choose among a variety of intoxicating substances is a much more important freedom and that millions of people have derived innocent fun from taking stimulants and narcotics.”         Theodore Dalrymple

“But the consumption of drugs has the effect of reducing men’s freedom by circumscribing the range of their interests.

It impairs their ability to pursue more important human aims, such as raising a family and fulfilling civic obligations.”    Theodore Dalrymple

T-shirt on left says: Marijuana! Hey, at least it’s not crack!

This girl’s shirt, WEEDING IS FUNDAMENTAL, is a play on Reading is Fundamental, a children’s literacy organization. It reminded me: this is an institution of higher education. So, just how does marijuana use affect learning?

“Another study produced additional evidence that marijuana’s effects on the brain can cause cumulative deterioration of critical life skills in the long run. Researchers gave students a battery of tests measuring problem-solving and emotional skills in 8th grade and again in 12th grade. The results showed that the students who were already drinking alcohol plus smoking marijuana in 8th grade started off slightly behind their peers, but that the distance separating these two groups grew significantly by their senior year in high school.”  – NIDA


Depression, anxiety, and personality disturbances are all associated with marijuana use. Research clearly demonstrates that marijuana use has the potential to cause problems in daily life or make a person’s existing problems worse. Because marijuana compromises the ability to learn and remember information, the more a person uses marijuana the more he or she is likely to fall behind in accumulating intellectual, job, or social skills.  – NIDA

“The idea that freedom is merely the ability to act upon one’s whims is surely very thin and hardly begins to capture the complexities of human existence; a man whose appetite is his law strikes us not as liberated but enslaved.”     Theodore Dalrymple

Directly across the quad on the steps of the brick building are two cops along with a number of other people.




“No culture that makes publicly sanctioned self-indulgence its highest good can long survive: a radical egotism is bound to ensue, in which any limitations upon personal behavior are experienced as infringements of basic rights. Distinctions between the important and the trivial, between the freedom to criticize received ideas and the freedom to take LSD, are precisely the standards that keep societies from barbarism.”    Theodore Dalrymple

“When you smoke herb it reveals you to yourself”  

“Drug taking is a lazy man’s way of pursuing happiness and wisdom, and the shortcut turns out to be the deadest of dead ends. We lose remarkably little by not being permitted to take drugs.”                        Theodore Dalrymple

“Very often it impairs their ability to pursue gainful employment and promotes parasitism. Moreover, far from being expanders of consciousness, most drugs severely limit it. One of the most striking characteristics of drug takers is their intense and tedious self-absorption; and their journeys into inner space are generally forays into inner vacuums.”   Theodore Dalrymple

Munchie gratification. Note Mozzarella on matching lip rings.

“The extreme intellectual (simplicity) of the proposal to legalize the distribution and consumption of drugs, touted as the solution to so many problems at once (AIDS, crime, overcrowding in the prisons, and even the attractiveness of drugs to foolish young people) should give rise to skepticism. Social problems are not usually like that. Analogies with the Prohibition era, often drawn by those who would legalize drugs, are false and inexact: it is one thing to attempt to ban a substance that has been in customary use for centuries by at least nine-tenths of the adult population, and quite another to retain a ban on substances that are still not in customary use, in an attempt to ensure that they never do become customary. Surely we have already slid down enough slippery slopes in the last 30 years without looking for more such slopes to slide down.”    Theodore Dalrymple

Students who smoke marijuana get lower grades and are less likely to graduate from high school, compared with their nonsmoking peers.

“…research has shown that marijuana’s adverse impact on memory and learning can last for days or weeks after the acute effects of the drug wear off. For example, a study of 129 college students found that among heavy users of marijuana – those who smoked the drug at least 27 of the preceding 30 days – critical skills related to attention, memory, and learning were significantly impaired, even after they had not used the drug for at least 24 hours.”  Thank you,  NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE

These cops were not impressed with this advocate for legalization. I would describe their demeanor as politely disgusted. The slogan meets reality.

“It is of course true, but only trivially so, that the present illegality of drugs is the cause of the criminality surrounding their distribution. Likewise, it is the illegality of stealing cars that creates car thieves. In fact, the ultimate cause of all criminality is law. As far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested that law should therefore be abandoned. Moreover, the impossibility of winning the “war” against theft, burglary, robbery, and fraud has never been used as an argument that these categories of crime should be abandoned. And so long as the demand for material goods outstrips supply, people will be tempted to commit criminal acts against the owners of property. This is not an argument, in my view, against private property or in favor of the common ownership of all goods. It does suggest, however, that we shall need a police force for a long time to come.

In any case, there are reasons to doubt whether the crime rate would fall quite as dramatically as advocates of legalization have suggested. Amsterdam, where access to drugs is relatively unproblematic, is among the most violent and squalid cities in Europe. The idea behind crime—of getting rich, or at least richer, quickly and without much effort—is unlikely to disappear once drugs are freely available to all who want them. And it may be that officially sanctioned antisocial behavior—the official lifting of taboos—breeds yet more antisocial behavior, as the “broken windows” theory would suggest.”     Theodore Dalrymple

“Having met large numbers of drug dealers in prison, I doubt that they would return to respectable life if the principal article of their commerce were to be legalized. Far from evincing a desire to be reincorporated into the world of regular work, they express a deep contempt for it and regard those who accept the bargain of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay as cowards and fools.

Therefore, since even legalizers would hesitate to allow children to take drugs, decriminalization might easily result in dealers turning their attentions to younger and younger children, who—in the permissive atmosphere that even now prevails—have already been inducted into the drug subculture in alarmingly high numbers.

For the proposed legalization of drugs to have its much vaunted beneficial effect on the rate of criminality, such drugs would have to be both cheap and readily available. The legalizers assume that there is a natural limit to the demand for these drugs, and that if their consumption were legalized, the demand would not increase substantially. Those psychologically unstable persons currently taking drugs would continue to do so, with the necessity to commit crimes removed, while psychologically stabler people (such as you and I and our children) would not be enticed to take drugs by their new legal status and cheapness. But price and availability, I need hardly say, exert a profound effect on consumption: the cheaper alcohol becomes, for example, the more of it is consumed…

It is therefore perfectly possible that the demand for drugs, including opiates, would rise dramatically were their price to fall and their availability to increase. And if it is true that the consumption of these drugs in itself predisposes to criminal behavior it is also possible that the effect on the rate of criminality of this rise in consumption would swamp the decrease that resulted from decriminalization. We would have just as much crime in aggregate as before, but many more addicts.

If the war against drugs is lost, then so are the wars against theft, speeding, incest, fraud, rape, murder, arson, and illegal parking. Few, if any, such wars are winnable. So let us all do anything we choose.

The present situation is bad, undoubtedly; but few are the situations so bad that they cannot be made worse by a wrong policy decision.”    Thanks for the words  Dr. T. Dalrymple, City Journal


Platoons of Paris Hilton impersonators marched at Norlin Quad for the big Smoke Out.

Paris Hilton has been seen by millions smoking hash in Amsterdam on utube.



Sample of framed art available for students to purchase next to campus. Every dorm room needs one don’t you think? The teentoon has a butcher knife in his hand, LSD on tongue. Is this a reference to Charlie Manson who used a lot of acid and then a butcher knife?


The hallucinogenic drug LSD is making a big comeback among teens, experts say. The substance, popular in the hippy era, costs only about $5 a dose and lasts up to 12 hours, making it a cheap high for cost-conscious kids.  (text from  concert poster above)

In this photo essay I have quoted extensively from two articles. One is by Theodore Dalrymple the British physician, prison psychiatrist and author who is widely credited with influencing Rudy Giuliani in his highly successful reformation of NY City. The other article I quote is from the NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON DRUG ABUSE.

While Dalrymple’s article concentrates on the use of opiates and methamphetamine, cocaine, etc. the NIDA article is a review of research on marijuana use. These drugs should always be considered together with marijuana when the subject is legalization.

WARNING: The fact that persons depicted in these photos were all photographed in the vicinity of the 2009 CU boulder Smoke Out is not meant to imply that any or all are or were ever active drug users. The photos are intended only to illustrate contemporary campus youth fashion and culture.