Even though marijuana is now officially legal in Colorado, law enforcement officials and attorneys say that there is still a serious threat of a police shakedown for those individuals that insist on traveling with their weed riding comfortably in the passenger’s seat.
Both cops and lawyers agree that keeping marijuana stashed in the trunk is the best way to avoid unwanted hassles and to ensure complete compliance with Colorado’s new recreational marijuana law, which went into effect on Wednesday. They say that until the law is fine tuned, the safest place for your new retail pot purchase is in the trunk with the spare tire.
"It's not a functional ordinance. It's got some problems," said attorney Christian Sederberg about the brass tacks of the state’s recreational marijuana law, SB-283.
The primary concern over the new law, as it pertains to the transportation of legal weed, lies in the method in which it was drafted: using open alcohol container laws as a reference model. State law mandates that all marijuana transported in vehicles along public roadways must be packaged in a sealed container; however, the law fails to clearly define the term.
While most agree that the packaged marijuana being sold at local weed retailers is in compliance with the state’s open container laws, many are worried that once the seal is broken and transferred into secondary containers like baggies, pill bottles, or spice jars, that they could be harassed by authorities.
However, Dave Hall, the legislative liaison for the Colorado State Patrol, says that if pot consumers just use some common sense, they will likely not have to worry about getting into any trouble. "Some of this will be up to the discretion of officers who make stops," he said. "From the law enforcement perspective, we just don't want to see people dying on the highways."
Individuals caught with marijuana in open containers will be cited for a minor traffic infraction that carries a fine of $50.
Lawmakers say they hope to make some changes to the law during the next legislative session that will help to clarify its boundaries.
Mike Adams writes for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, BroBible and Hustler Magazine. Follow him: @adamssoup; facebook.com/mikeadams73.