Denver City Council Flip-Flops, Voting to Allow Pot Smoking in Front Yards

Last night the Denver City
Council, which last week
to ban pot smoking in outdoor areas on private property
that are visible from streets or sidewalks,
reversed itself
. The council approved an amendment introduced
by Councilwoman Susan Shepherd that restores a provision protecting
marijuana consumption on private residential property, whether
indoor or outdoor, as long as the consumer has the owner’s consent.
Assuming the
current version of the ordinance
wins a second vote next
Monday, Denver residents will be allowed to consume marijuana on
their front porches, patios, and balconies.

The vote was 7 to 6, thanks to a switch by Councilman Albus
Brooks, who
The Denver Post he changed his mind after
hearing from community leaders during the Thanksgiving break and
thinking about the potential for discriminatory enforcement. “Their
concerns were about private property rights and overpolicing in
some of our neighborhoods,” Brooks said. “It’s a tough issue. Fear
sometimes causes us to protect and doesn’t allow our city to

The council had already eliminated the widely ridiculed
,” which would have prohibited pot smoking even in fenced
back yards if the odor could be detected by neighbors or
passers-by. It also nixed a ban on mere possession of marijuana in
parks and other recreation areas, which would have barred people
from carrying legally purchased cannabis on public biking and
walking trails. Likewise, the current version of the
bill allows mere possession on the 16th Street Mall, so that
people who buy marijuana there do not have to leave

The bill does seem to prohibit marijuana consumption in outdoor
areas of bars and restaurants that are “clearly observable from a
public place,” such as patio tables adjoining a sidewalk. The state
legislature has amended the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act to
cover pot smoking inside bars and restaurants, and consumption will
not be allowed in or near marijuana retailers. That still leaves a
few possibilities for people hoping to consume marijuana in social
settings other than private residences. By its terms, the state
smoking ban does not cover vaporizers or edibles, and even pot
smoking might be legal in outdoor areas of Denver bars or
restaurants that are concealed from public view, such as courtyards
or fenced patios.

from Hit & Run

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