Democratic Denver Mayor Michael Hancock is taking friendly fire from the American Civil Liberties Union for his newest proposal to limit the public consumption of marijuana. According to the proposed ordinance:
“It shall be unlawful to possess, consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell, transport, or grow marijuana at or within any park, parkway, mountain park, or other recreational facility.”
The ordinance that this language amends already forbids the consumption of alcoholic beverages and 3.2 beer in public areas. Where it gets sticky is that marijuana use produces smoke, which could be illegal if this ordinance passes. According to CBS4, what concerns groups like the ACLU is how this ordinance differentiates between public and private property. While admitting that cities have the right to limit open consumption of pot, Mark Silverstein from the ACLU had this to say:
“But this proposed ordinance stretches that definition artificially, unreasonably, and says it’s open public consumption if you’re doing it in the privacy of your living room or privacy of your backyard if some of the smell happens to get out.”
Hancock’s spokesperson defended the ordinance noting that the goal was to “prevent excessive pot smoking, the kind that creates a haze like at a 4/20 rally.” The mayor also issued a statement about the ordinance:
“This proposed ordinance clearly communicates what our residents and visitors are and are not allowed to do in public. It respects the will of the voters, which allows people over 21 to have and consume a small amount of marijuana. It also ensures that our public spaces remain enjoyable for residents, families and tourists.”
The ordinance will be introduced tonight at a committee meeting.