The History Of The High Noon Society

If you were a college student during the 1970s you might remember the High Noon Society at the University of Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

For those who weren't on the scene, the High Noon Society was a group of students at the University of Chapel Hill who would gather at the Bell Tower or Forest Theatre to smoke marijuana. The name was given because students would gather on Fridays at noon.  At its height, High Noon Society had about 300 “members”. Students gathered  not only to smoke cannabis but for the spirit of friendliness, socialization, good will, to “take it easy” and get to know everyone. The students saw the gatherings as a group of people who were high on the beauty of human companionship as much as on pot. They felt that the High Noon gatherings had a positive effect on students.

The gatherings were very popular with the students but parents did not like the students smoking cannabis on campus. A group of parents and attorneys wrote a letter to the school’s chancellor Ferebee Taylor threatening to sue the University if the illegal activity was not stopped. The University recognized the rights of students to assemble, but felt responsible for enforcing state laws on the campus. The Dean of Student Affairs Donald Boulton announced a plan to work with local law enforcement to stop the marijuana use. Hearing of the warnings from the University and the local law enforcement, the High Noon club still considered gathering  without smoking cannabis. 

In January of 1975, Chapel Hill police photographers spied on students and photographed them smoking in the Bell Tower. Photos were taken of students smoking and coming out of the Bell Tower to use against them in court. Ultimately the photos were considered useless because law enforcement was not able to determine if tobacco or mariujuana was being smoked. Without independent evidence, the photos alone weren’t sufficient enough to create a court case. No one was arrested, but for The High Noon Society being spied on and having their photos taken without consent was an invasion of their rights to privacy and to assemble. The police continued to investigate and slowly the High Noon Society fell apart.

  1. Celebrate 4/20 all month long by participating in our 4/20 Membership Drive. After all - what better time to organize our friends to help us in our cannabis reform mission! We recognize that this is a time of great financial uncertainty for too many people, so we understand that donating money may be difficult. Please keep reading for other ways to support the movement to legalize.
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