In 2012, Colorado voters approved Amendment 64, which, as a matter of Colorado law, legalized possession, display, transportation, and consumption of less than an ounce of marijuana. The constitutional amendment also states that nothing in the measure permits “openly and publicly” consuming marijuana.

In October, 2013, the Denver City Council began considering a proposed ordinance that makes “open and public consumption” a crime. The proposal defines “open and public” so broadly that it applies to consumption in one’s home or on one’s back porch if the marijuana can be seen or smelled from a public area or from another property. The proposed ordinance also makes it a crime to carry even small amounts in one’s pocket while walking in a park, on a parkway, or anywhere on the Sixteenth Street Mall.  In oral testimony and a subsequent letter, the ACLU Legal Director criticized the latter provisions, which were subsequently deleted from the ordinance the City Council adopted.  

ACLU Press Release:


Mark Silverstein, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director