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.
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.
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