Pueblo elected officials struggle with remaining pot questions

Pueblo elected officials struggle with pot questions

PUEBLO, Colo. - Despite knowing for months that recreational marijuana would be sold in Pueblo County starting Jan. 1, Pueblo City Council and county commissioners still have a list of questions to answer.

Jesus Bertaud purchased a gram of marijuana at Marisol Therapeutics in Pueblo, but wasn't clear on whether he could smoke in his front porch or backyard. 

"We are receiving very conflicting legal advice as to whether we can define what is public," said Pueblo County Commissioner Sal Pace.

Public consumption of marijuana isn't allowed under Amendment 64. A spokesperson for the Colorado Department of Revenue, Daria Serna, said it's up to each jurisdiction to define what public means.

"I put a lot of the blame on the state for not clearly defining what is public," Pace said. 

Pueblo City Council President Steve Nawrocki said since the city has a moratorium on pot sales until March, he hadn't considered all the questions that would arise from pot sales in Pueblo County.

"I think having been president this past year, I feel a little bit negligent on my part that we didn't address it," he said.

Nawrocki added that City Council was preoccupied with other issues last year, like balancing the city's budget. Still, he said that's no excuse. He plans on discussing it with City Council at Monday's work session. 

"I really, truly think that council as a whole figured they had kicked that down the road until this year, until March," Nawrocki said.

Pace hopes the Colorado Legislature defines public consumption soon. Until then, he said, people need to use common sense.

"The world has had legal adult recreational marijuana for eight days," Pace said. "Not every question is going to be answered right away."

As for Bertaud, he plans on smoking inside his home until he gets some clarity from the county.

"There should be some kind of like a hotline with any kind of question you can call, dial up. They should have the answers for you, if not redirect you to someone who does," he said.

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