Proposed Denver Ordinance Would Make It Illegal To Smoke Marijuana Anywhere In Public

| by Jonathan Wolfe

A proposed ordinance in Denver would make it illegal for people to smoke marijuana anywhere where others can see it or smell it.

The ordinance is backed by Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.

“Your activities should not pervade others’ peace and ability to enjoy,” Mayor Hancock said. “Marijuana is one of those elements that can be quite pervasive and invasive. I shouldn’t have to smell your activities from your backyard.”

The text of the ordinance reads: “It shall be unlawful for any person to openly and publicly display or consume one (1) ounce or less of marijuana.”

The ordinance defines openly as “being perceptible through sight or smell to the public.” Here is how the law defines “publicly”:

The term “publicly” means: (a) occurring or existing in a public space as defined by C.R.S. 18-1-901, or (b) occurring or existing in a place or location to which members of the public have access, or (c) occurring or existing in a place, location or in such a manner that members of the public or persons on neighboring properties may observe or perceive it by sight or smell, including but not limited to vehicles on public streets or highways.

Put together, the areas covered under “openly and publicly” under the ordinance are pretty broad. It is not known at this time how much support the ordinance has in the Denver city council.

My question for the council: Are there similar ordinances in place for tobacco consumption? If not, then why are the two being handled differently? 

Source: Reason, Colorado State Law