Despite the fact that the nature of Colorado’s marijuana legalization amendment was to regulate the herb similarly to alcohol, the states's legislative forces are not doing a great job putting this philosophy to work. The latest debacle is over whether lawmakers should permit the state’s tax paying citizens to smoke weed on their front porch.
According to the Denver Post, the state House and Senate cannot seem to come to an agreement on what exactly constitutes public marijuana consumption. The majority of this confusion is the same as it has been for the past several years – should Colorado give its residents the freedom to smoke weed in front of their house in public view?
The proposal lawmakers have on the table would make it illegal for people to smoke weed in places where “a substantial number of the public” can see them. The goal of the measure, the same one that was supposed to eventually lead to the opening of cannabis clubs, is to ensure people are not smoking weed while walking down the sidewalk or in public parks.
However, an updated version of the bill argues that this prohibition should be extended to anyplace “not protected from unaided observation lawfully made from outside its perimeter.” This means if there is any chance the public, especially children, can see marijuana being smoked – that should be considered public consumption.
The major hang-up with respect to this issue is whether kids will be able to watch someone getting stoned as they pass by on the sidewalk. There is also concern that youngsters might catch a contact high with pot smoke potentially in close proximity to them.
The latest version of the bill did not manage to get enough votes to advance further in the legislative process. But lawmakers vowed to keep chiseling away at it until a functional compromise is made.
Legal experts say this is a clear-cut issue of property rights taking precedence over the feelings of others.
“We have a constitutional right here,” said attorney Judd Golden. “We absolutely have private property rights and those should prevail over the possibility that someone might be offended” by a person smoking marijuana.
Last month, lawmakers decided to drop the issue of allowing social pot consumption in select public places.
The bill is now so watered down that the state’s marijuana laws are still a far cry from matching the state’s policies on alcohol.