In Castle Rock, public pot-smoking to be petty offense

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Smoking marijuana in public in Castle Rock will be dealt with similarly to how police deal with open consumption of alcohol.

Castle Rock Town Clerk Sally Misare informed the Castle Rock City Council July 2 that one of the major issues the Colorado Legislature recently failed to address, regarding the state's new law legalizing marijuana, was open and public consumption of pot — and so the town police's department has decided to deal with such violations using standards similar to what's in the town's liquor code.

Any incidents of possible public consumption will be handled on a case-by-case basis by police officers, using “case-specific facts,” Castle Rock Police Chief Jack Cauley said in a recent interview.

But, “you couldn't smoke a marijuana cigarette in public. That would be prohibited,” Cauley said.

Any person who violates that prohibition, which is considered a Class 2 petty offense, would upon conviction receive up to a $100 fine and/or 15 days in jail, according to the town's municipal code.

The town is also heading the way of some others in not allowing the licensing of marijuana clubs where people would be allowed to congregate to smoke pot.

Misare told the council the town hasn't had any applications for such a club. But when she asked if the town council wanted staff to draft a proposed ordinance prohibiting those, councilmembers indicated they wanted that done.

“That's absolutely something I would like us to take action on …,” said Castle Rock Mayor Paul Donahue. “We do not want these clubs in Castle Rock.”

That action would be the latest in the town's effort to shield itself from the effects of Colorado's Amendment 64, which voters passed last year legalizing recreational marijuana use.

At a previous meeting, Castle Rock, like almost all local jurisdictions in Douglas County, decided to use a provision in the new state law that allows local jurisdictions to enact bans on commercial marijuana use, meaning such things as retail marijuana shops and commercial growing operations.

Douglas County was the state's first county to impose a commercial ban, and Castle Rock, Lone Tree, Parker and, most recently, Castle Pines, followed suit. Larkspur has imposed a moratorium until 2014, waiting to see what rules and regulations the state imposes before taking further action, Larkspur Town Manager Matt Krimmer said recently.

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