Thursday, November 5, 2009

Breckenridge Legalizes Pot

Breckenridge voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to make it legal to possess 1 ounce or less of marijuana, as the issue received 71 percent support in Tuesday’s election. As a result, effective Jan. 1, people 21 and older in Breckenridge will be able to legally possess small amounts of marijuana. While possession remains illegal under state law, Breckenridge police chief Rick Holman said his department will "still have the ability to exercise discretion", according to the Summit Daily News. In the past, the chief has said that pursuit of pot smokers was not a major priority. The vote, supporters say, will further encourage local law enforcement to leave average recreational pot smokers alone.
Currently, the petty, non-jailable offense under town code carries a maximum $100 fine. In 2008, Breckenridge Police Department ticketed 10 people under the town marijuana possession law, according to BPD ticket statistics.
In 2005, Denver became the first major city to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana after voters approved legislation similar to that in Breckenridge.
The decriminalization won't change laws prohibiting smoking in public, use by minors or driving under the influence.