City Council torn over outside consumption of marijuana

Michelle San Miguel, Multimedia Journalist - Pueblo Chieftain Bureau/Telemundo Anchor, michelle.sanmiguel@krdo.com
POSTED: 10:53 PM MST Feb 11, 2014 
City Council torn over outside consumption of marijuana
PUEBLO, Colo. -

The Pueblo City-County Health Department wants people to be able to smoke marijuana outside their homes. A health department spokesperson told council Monday doing so would limit secondhand smoke to children, elderly and pets.

City Council members have mixed feelings about the hazy topic of marijuana and property rights. 

"I just don't feel it's the right thing to do to tell adults that they cannot do something that's perfectly legal for them to do on any part of their property," said Councilwoman Ami Nawrocki.

Council President Sandy Daff disagrees. "Front porches are an area where folks should not be smoking marijuana," she said.

Amendment 64 doesn't allow marijuana to be consumed "openly and publicly." But it's up to council to define what "openly and publicly" means.

Civil rights attorney Matt Martin said that decision could eventually be out of the city's control. "The Colorado Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals have never had the opportunity to define that phrase because I don't think it's ever been used in any constitutional provision or statutory provision before," Martin said.

Also under Amendment 64, marijuana cannot be consumed "in a manner that endangers others." 

"The case could be made that if you're smoking in a closed environment in the presence of children that would be endangering them," Martin said.

Like City Council members, Pueblo residents are torn about outdoor smoking.

"We pay taxes for our property and we have the right to do it," said Aaron Huntsberry, who lives in Pueblo.

Sallie Ice, a Pueblo resident, said, "I have grandchildren and I don't want them to see people lighting up and have to explain to them what they're doing."

City Council will continue the discussion Feb. 24.