Breckenridge tweaks laws to make way for marijuana decriminalization
November 29, 2009
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – A new set of marijuana laws is nearing approval in Breckenridge, where possession of the drug and paraphernalia by people over 21 is to be decriminalized Jan. 1.
The regulations would make public display and consumption of marijuana punishable by a $100 fine and up to 15 days in jail.
Breckenridge Police Chief Rick Holman said he doesn’t foresee much change in the town that, in 2008, issued only 10 tickets for possession of small amounts of marijuana and four for possession of paraphernalia under the municipal laws.
“We’ve never had a high incidence of public display and use in Breckenridge,” he said. “I don’t expect that to change.”
Holman acknowledged that “some people are miseducated” about what passed in this month’s ballot initiative for decriminalization.
Use of marijuana at Breckenridge Ski Resort remains illegal under the Colorado Ski Safety Act.
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The town will continue to prohibit selling and driving under the influence of the drug.
The town on its website explains that non-medical marijuana possession still violates state laws, and that the local police “may still exercise, at their discretion, the authority to charge those in violation of state or federal law.”
Holman has said such enforcement would vary depending on the situation.
Unlike the city of Denver – which decriminalized pot in 2005 – the Breckenridge town code will specifically allow for people over 21 to possess paraphernalia.
The draft to which the Town Council gave preliminary approval last week also allows for transfer without sale of less than an ounce of marijuana between people. Sale of marijuana remains a felony.
Possession between 1 ounce and 8 ounces is still to be a misdemeanor in the town, with possession of more than 8 ounces a felony.
Election results earlier this month reflect about 71 percent of town residents who voted favored decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana.