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City Warns Against Public Marijuana Smoking

DENVER (CBS4) – Recreational marijuana will be legal in Colorado on Jan. 1 and the city of Denver warns that it will take action against any planned public celebrations.

The city has said that any public celebrations involving marijuana are still illegal.

Some who are trying to follow the new laws say it's an issue that needs to be discussed.

The concern is over the term "public consumption" and what exactly that applies to.

Matt Brown is the owner of "420 Tours" in Denver and had plans to host "Cannhibition," the first "private" pot party of the new year at a dance club downtown.

"We wanted to really show off everything the city has done and how far we've come by ending cannabis prohibition and by doing it right," said Brown.

Brown wanted everything to be in compliance with the new law so he spoke with an attorney and even met with city officials to make sure there would be no issues.

"Our goal was to begin with defining a private event that we could all be comfortable with that was legal and once we knew what that was, build something around it," said Brown.

Brown says no one could give him a clear answer until a week before the event when he got a letter from the city threatening legal action.

The city says the dance club is considered a public place under Colorado law and openly smoking marijuana at an event there would be a violation of state laws prohibiting public consumption.

The city says the rules are clear but Brown doesn't agree and wants a real discussion about what private versus public means.

"If the answer is that the law genuinely says the only place for an adult over 21 to use their marijuana is in their home then I think it's time for us to discuss a more reasonable approach to what happens after that seed-to-sale transaction," said Brown.

Brown and his supporters are hoping to speak with the city for more clarification as soon as they can after the first of the year.

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