Your Guide to Public Smoking in Denver: What’s Legal?

Cannabis is legal in Colorado, so I can smoke wherever I want, right? Not so fast. In 2014, the same year that recreational cannabis was made legal in Colorado, the Denver Police Department handed out some 1,000 public consumption citations. When cannabis advocates pushed for legalization, they didn’t intend for legal smokers to be banned to private residences. Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happened. What’s The Law Got to Say? Amendment 64, the bill that makes possession and consumption legal, does NOT permit public consumption. After you get your bag of green, you can’t openly light up and walk down the street. That would be illegal. The repercussions of public consumption are similar to a citation you’d receive for having an open container of alcohol in public. Public places include parks, transportation outlets (bus stops etc.), sidewalks and roads, outdoor and rooftop cafes, restaurants, bars and common areas are considered ‘public’, making it illegal to smoke in these areas. Many also mistakenly believe they can light up in marijuana retail shops, but this too is illegal. Smoking in or around a licensed store is against the law, no matter how tempting it is to enjoy your purchase.

Where CAN You Smoke? Public smoking is a hotly debated topic in Colorado. For now, the law states that all public consumption is illegal with the exception of a few “private” clubs where you may purchase a day membership. Other odd rules exist in Denver. For example, you may smoke in the rear of a private for-hire limo if the owners allow it. Similarly, certain hotels and beds & breakfast spots allow their guests to consume cannabis on premise. It’s up to these shops to say yah or nah to cannabis consumption, the law has no hard and fast rules.In general, however, any area that is within 1,000 feet of a school or publicly owned property is illegal to smoke in. If you’re in the middle of the Rockies with no one around, and you’re on private property, it’s legal to smoke. Be Polite & Use Your Head! The recreational marijuana industry is so new that many of these laws are impossible to enforce. That doesn’t mean you should ignore them. Penalties range from simple citations to prison time, and we know you don’t want to end up on the heavier end of that scale. Be polite, follow local laws, and your vacation to Colorado will be nothing but blissful. Be sure to book a room at smoke friendly hosts and take your purchase back to your room. Avoid trouble and enjoy your purchase, by following the law.

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