Today, Denver reeks less of bureaucratic smoke and more of weed.
The mile-high municipality has decided that a recently proposed law to ban the odor of marijuana throughout the city, even in people’s backyards, may have been a little hasty.
Earlier this week, a newly amended version of the law was submitted to the City Council, which will not only allow people to freely smoke out on their own property, but will also permit them to posses pot in parks and on the 16th Street Mall.
Even people caught violating the marijuana laws will catch a break, as these offenses will be considered “petty,” according to new standards, and carry a maximum fine of $100 and/or 24 hours of community service -- a relatively good deal considering that the first draft of the “no smell” law enforced violations with penalties up to $999 and one year in jail.
So, what was behind the city’s sudden change of heart?
Several things, including a protest by the American Civil Liberties Union, who argued the proposed law was unconstitutional, In addition, officials from the marijuana industry insisted that the instilment of such demanding rules would undoubtedly recriminalized marijuana and contradict Amendment 64.
The new draft, which must still be approved by the City Council, makes it perfectly legal to possess marijuana in designated public areas, just as long as it is not being openly displayed -- no joints behind the ear, or visibly carried bags of weed downtown or in city parks.
The amended law will permit residents to chief it up in their backyard as much as they like; however, consumption in areas visible to the public, such as front yards or front porches, will still be still forbidden.
"We want to minimize the degree to which Denver citizens on the streets of our city are subjected to the obvious presence of marijuana," said Councilman Chris Nevitt. "That is why it is written: If you are visible from a public space, we would just assume that you would not consume your marijuana in an open fashion."
Mike Adams writes for Playboy's The Smoking Jacket, BroBible and Hustler Magazine. Follow him: @adamssoup; facebook.com/mikeadams73.