Pot smoking on front porches okayed by Denver City Council, school-related proposal dies

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Yesterday, Denver city councilwoman Susan Shepherd predicted that an amendment allowing people to smoke pot on their front porches and front lawns -- a reversal of a ban that seemed certain to pass -- would be approved at a meeting last night, and she was right. The new rules sailed through.

Not so another proposal that concerned Shepherd -- one that would have prohibited smoking within 1,000 feet of schools even on private property, like a home.

Critics of the front-porch amendment's first draft branded it a "sniff test," since it would have imposed a fine against anyone smoking in his or her home if the smoke could be smelled on an adjacent property. Outcry led to the tweaking of that language, but the revised version still would have made it illegal for an individual to smoke on a front porch or front lawn of their own abode if they could be seen doing so.

A ban was approved 7-5, with only a second reading and what was assumed to be a pro forma vote preventing it from going into effect. But at the last minute, Shepherd introduced her own amendment, which allowed front-porch and front-lawn smoking. And councilman Albus Brooks, who'd voted in favor of the previous amendment, changed course, saying he was concerned that enforcing the edict would waste law-enforcement resources.

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Councilman Albus Brooks's switched vote on the marijuana amendment was key.
As a result, Shepherd's document passed 7-6, leading to last night's 10-3 vote in favor of it.

Earlier in the day, as reported by the Denver Post, councilwoman Debbie Ortega's suggestion that smoking be banned within 1,000 feet of schools, regardless of whether it was on public or private property, died a quick death. And Ortega's other major offering -- a five-cent fee on plastic bags at many stores -- was withdrawn before a planned final vote.

As we noted yesterday, the plastic bag fee seemed to have more than enough backing from other councilpersons to pass. However, Mayor Michael Hancock opposed it, arguing that the costs would be disproportionately borne by elderly and lower-income shoppers.

Not that the fee is dead. Ortega reportedly pledged to do more research before bringing it back to the council in March. And the council's action on marijuana hardly closes the book on that topic, either.

"I know there are still people on the council upset about smell issues, particularly from grow operations," Shepherd told us yesterday. "I wouldn't be surprised to see that come back in some sort of potential ordinance." Likewise, she believes "the whole private club issue" may return before long. In her view, "there's going to be a conflict with people who wish to consume but don't have a private space to do it -- like tourists. We know that people are going to come here from other states to consume, and where they're going to consume legally is a big question."

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Allowing pot clubs one of fourteen priorities for Colorado NORML."

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55 comments
xyzabc
xyzabc

Smoke that sh-t on your front porch. If you have a gun in your house you're violating FEDERAL LAW and I will report you to the authorities. ENJOY!!!

Nathan Dant
Nathan Dant

Politicians wasting time and taxpayer money on this petty garbage.

Keith Burroughs
Keith Burroughs

At least they R getting there. Gives new meaning to On the Grass

Rebecca Campbell Caldwell
Rebecca Campbell Caldwell

Thank you Councilwoman Susan Shepherd! Proud to be represented by you in the best neighborhood in Denver!

Nick Murphy
Nick Murphy

As long as it is on their property it should be fine

Michael P Lee
Michael P Lee

Don't move to Washington Greg. Like Bruce Lee says- Be water...

Alex Zamora
Alex Zamora

I don't mean to be a butt and butt in but, I agree everyone should be able to enjoy their home. I've met some Colorado born Hindu folks who have been vegan since birth as part of their faith. They may have some pointers for you from their experience with BBQ grills.

Greg Eckenrode
Greg Eckenrode

Che, they are just jerks. Apparently like Hope. The police have told us that it is a nuisance if they are impacting the ability for us to enjoy our home. The same is true for cigarette smoke. We tried to address the issue directly with them and they threw a fit. The police were called and they told us to only deal through them. But nothing ever gets done. We aren't anti pot. We just want to be able to enjoy time in our home or yard without their smells intruding.

Lawrence Dunn
Lawrence Dunn

Thanks and kudos to Councilwoman Susan Shepherd for her employment of actual thinking and common sense on the Denver City Council. If I lived in Denver, I'd live in the Highlands! :)

Che Harness
Che Harness

Greg - Did you ask them to open a window, or just bitch at them? They might just be jerks (they're everywhere), but if you came up to me with a condescending self-righteous attitude telling me what to do, then I would probably ignore you as well.

Melissa Rabe
Melissa Rabe

Yes, beer cigarette and marijuana. All the same to me. If you dont like it, there are plenty of states that don't allow it.

Nik Romero
Nik Romero

I'd rather smell weed, than cigarettes any day

Che Harness
Che Harness

Oh you're so nice. Thank you for not violating my civil rights even further.

Scott McMahon
Scott McMahon

Am I the only one that thinks these discussions are a major waste of resources? With so many REAL problems in the world it's no wonder why nothing ever gets done...we are too busy debating about someone smoking a joint on their front porch.

Zac Ricciardi
Zac Ricciardi

Average time to smoke cannabis five minutes. Average police non emergency response thirty minutes. You don't have to do rocket surgery to see that they could not enforce this.

Greg Eckenrode
Greg Eckenrode

We have neighbors who have smoked so much, underage as well, that our house was filled with the smoke. This is wrong. They have been told. They continue to do it. And it hasn't been legal. Guess I will just sell my house and move out of denver.

Andrew Goodwin Brown
Andrew Goodwin Brown

I believe so. If your neighbor has an issue with smoke or smell coming from your property, it is the responsibility of the two parties to solve the issue; not the city's. Plus, a "sniff test" is a rather subjective way to extend a penalty.

Monkey
Monkey

@xyzabc What federal law is that? I think you're confused between buying a gun from a FFL, using a gun while intoxicated, and having a gun in your house while intoxicated. But hey, feel free to call federal authorities on whomever you like, but falsely reporting a crime is a crime too.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Rebecca. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Strong post, Scott. Thanks for commenting.

redsoxfan
redsoxfan

actually the Denver Chief of police has already said that if enacted it would be such a low priority the he saw not one ticket being written,EVER. It would be such a waste of tax dollars.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your experiences, Greg. We're going to feature them in an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

These kinds of questions are already cropping up -- and I'm sure we'll hear more of them. Thanks for posting, Priscilla.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

A strong argument, Andrew. Thanks for weighing in.

..Matt...
..Matt...

Possession of a firearm while intoxicated is a crime.

It's unlawful for a habitual user of illegal drugs to purchase or possess firearms.

It's illegal to possess or use a firearm while engaging in illegal drug activity.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@michael.roberts ... he'll never feel the pleasure of your obsequious fluffery  Michael, as your reply is invisible from Failbook.


..Matt...
..Matt...

That's what rapey Rob Corry thought.

Monkey
Monkey

@DonkeyHotay   That's a good "quick reference" link. I guess the whole possessing a gun while intoxicated thing is Colorado law, not federal. But i'm pretty sure it's somewhere in national forest rules too. This is what I assume you think makes smoking weed on the porch and storing a gun in the home a federal crime.

(g) It shall be unlawful for any person:

(3) who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act.


I guess you're right, if "xyzabc" can convince the DEA or ATF to come arrest his neighbor for toking a bowl, and they manufacture probable cause to search the home for guns, their could be trouble. Lucky for the neighbor, feds won't respond to residential complaints and local cops work for a government that declares the use of marijuana "not unlawful".



Monkey
Monkey

@.matt.. Those sound like local laws, but I'll play along.

"Possession of a firearm while intoxicated is a crime."

Referring to carrying a gun, not keeping guns in your house, the castle law sees to that. Otherwise, all police officers and half the people in the country would be guilty.


"It's unlawful for a habitual user of illegal drugs to purchase or possess firearms."

I think this is what confused "xyzabc", and you. Stoners are forced to lie when filling out federal forms to buy their guns, but federal forms are not required to buy/transfer guns.


"It's illegal to possess or use a firearm while engaging in illegal drug activity."

Another source of confusion, and includes all illegal activity, not just drugs. Using/possessing a gun while committing a crime is an additional charge, even when federal agents aren't involved. But even feds would have a hard time sticking that charge on someone smoking a bowl on the porch with a pistol by their bed.

..Matt...
..Matt...

And here you are reading all of the real Donkey's posts.

..Matt...
..Matt...

So Michael Roberts and Patty Calhoun are cowards?

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