According to the Aspen Daily News, Aspen currently has one marijuana dispensary for every 1,000 residents -- yet until now, fines for public smoking were vague at best. They've now been clarified, with a judge also determining that someone age 21 or older who gives any amount of pot to someone who's underage will be hit in the wallet hard -- and that's not all.
See also: Marijuana Front-Porch Smoking Allowed Under Surprising Denver City Council Amendment, published December 2013
Aspen's marijuana ordinance, passed in 2013 (it's included below), includes the following passage related to public pot smoking:
The possession, use or consumption of marijuana openly and publicly by any person. A first offense shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $100.00; a second offense shall be punished by a fine of not more than $250.00, and any third or subsequent offense shall be punished as set forth in Section 1.04.080.
As you can see, the phrasing sets $100 and $250 as maximums for first and second offenses, respectively, but doesn't actually establish them as standards. Moreover, the third offense refers to an ordinance that's even less specific: It says fees for code violations can't be higher than $2,650, but that's it.
The situation changed on Wednesday, the Daily News notes. From here on out, Judge Brooke Peterson ruled, $100 and $250 will be flat fees for first- and second-time offenses, while someone caught three times or more must pay $500 and make a mandatory court appearance.
The paper adds: "Peterson's order also says there is a potential $500 fine, regardless of whether it's a first or multiple offense, and a mandatory court appearance for someone over 21 suspected of transferring any amount of marijuana to a person under that age."
Any amount? Sounds like it'd be a lot cheaper if you bogart that joint.
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Here's the original Aspen marijuana ordinance. The passage related to public smoking is on page thirteen.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.