Denver City Council has taken the first step towards banning cannabis use on your property if it can be viewed from the street. That pretty much eliminates all toking in front yards and on balconies within the city limits.
As one Denverite so eloquently said at the meeting: “I would rather see police going after serious drug problems than playing security patrol for the Stepford wives.”
Council voted 7-5 to pass the measure on first reading after a lengthy spot of public testimony and heavy discussion.
“I really believe the front of your property is open, it is public,” Councilwoman Jeanne Robb, who sponsored the amendment, said at the meeting. “It does set the standard. I am trying to balance the rights of those who consume marijuana and those who want to protect some enjoyment of their own property.”
Hear that Denver? Jeannie Robb’s thinks your front yard is open and public space even if you own your property, and this bill will set that standard. Of course, by that standard Jeannie Robb’s front yard is public property so we’re sure she wouldn’t mind a few of the homeless Denverites hanging out there for an afternoon like any other public space.
Several people spoke out against the ban, citing personal property rights. But others were for the ban, including some parents concerned about the message it was sending to their children. One parent said someone smoking pot on their porch “undermines our conversations with our children by making it appear OK.”
Maybe because it is okay and cannabis use by adults over 21 is completely legal under state law?
Councilman Charlie Brown, who has been an advocate for some hefty regulations on medical and recreational cannabis sales in Colorado over the years, summed it up when saying that this shouldn’t be a police matter and that neighbors should talk to one another if there is a problem. “Government can’t solve these problems, and neither can our police department.”
Denver police chief Robert White said that regardless of whether or not the law is passed, his department will consider enforcement of marijuana laws regarding small, personal amounts to be the lowest priority for his officers. He said that if the person had finished their bowl by the time officers did show up to such a complaint, “that would be the end of our action.”
The measure still needs a second vote next Monday to pass, though most feel that is a foregone conclusion at this point.