Pot Smokers to Denver City Council: Stay Off the Porch


Jacob Sullum

The latest version of Denver's rules for marijuana consumption eliminates the widely derided "smell test," which would have made pot smoking illegal when other people can smell it, even if you do it on your own property. It also omits a ban on mere possession in parks, which Councilwoman Susan Shepherd worried would deter marijuana consumers from walking and biking. And although it still covers marijuana consumption "in any outdoor location" where it is "clearly observable from a public place," it exempts consumption on "private residential property" by owners, tenants, or guests. But The Denver Post reports that at least six out of 13 city council members still want to ban marijuana consumption in front yards, and there may yet be a seventh vote:

Charlie Brown, a swing vote, said he is conflicted. He has been a staunch property-rights proponent but understands the problem [Councilwoman Jeanne] Robb is trying to resolve.

"I don't want to see a bunch of pot parties on front yards," he said. "The city's image is at stake. I'm torn between [that concern and] my stance that a man's front yard is his castle."

Mason Tvert, who co-managed the campaign for marijuana legalization in Colorado, tells Westword that Robb's proposed amendment is approved, he could end up with no place to legally smoke pot:

They are still trying to prohibit the use of marijuana by adults on private property. It's currently legal for adults to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes on their porches or balconies, so we fail to understand why it should be illegal to use a far less harmful substance there….

I don't have a private backyard; the backyard is a common area. And if my building were to decide people can't use marijuana inside their units, for whatever reason, I wouldn't have anywhere I could legally use marijuana as an adult.

Aspen recently approved marijuana regulations that do not restrict consumption on private property. According to The Aspen Times, that means "it is OK for people to smoke in the comfort of their own yards, fenced or not, as well as their balconies, rooftops and patios." How come?  "At this point," the Times says, "the city doesn't believe the pot users, whether locals or visitors, will get out of hand."

Update: Last night the Denver City Council gave initial approval to a bill that includes Robb's amendment, which prohibits marijuana consumption "in any outdoor location on private residential property" where it is "clearly observable from a public street, highway or sidewalk." Brown voted against the amendment, saying, "I can't support it. I believe in individual private property rights." It nevertheless got the requisite seven votes. Another vote is scheduled for next Monday.


NEXT: Washington Nationals Want $300 Million for Ballpark Roof

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. A front yard is a property owner’s ambassador to the world. It is the false front a home puts on for its neighbors. It is the concealer that covers the cold sore that is reefer use.

    For appearances’ sake, don’t toke it outside, Denver.

  2. lol Big middle finger salute to the city coucil

    1. Your best comment yet.

  3. Lucy: Do you think you have Pantophobia, Charlie Brown?
    Charlie: I don’t know, what is pantophobia?
    Lucy: The fear of Everything.
    Charlie: THAT’S IT!!!”

    ? Charles M. Schulz

  4. Come on, Denver
    Don’t fear the reefer

    1. +1000 D pedal tones.

  5. Paraphrasing one of the guys from an episode of Duck Dynasty – If you can’t take a leak in your front yard, it’s not your yard.

  6. If employed professionals are able to fulfil their duties at work while also maintaining a recreational drug habit, why should welfare recipients be treated differently?

    He who pays the fiddler CALLS THE GODDAMN TUNE. People might have a “right” to food. They don’t have a right to fucking cocaine.

    But this is just typical of the politically correct “oh we can’t ever hurt anybodies feelings” left-libertarianism. Libertarianism is the right to do whatever the hell you want with someone else’s money.

      1. I think the word you were looking for is “derp”.


        1. What is left libertarianism?

          Some of the folks over at Bleeding Heart Libertarians claim to be social justice libertarians and some of the posters refer to themselves as left libertarians.

          1. I find the term “left-libertarian” used by the folks like Richman, Long et al pretty funny since it is a pretty reactionary mindset. I mean an appeal to a mythical, non-existent Victorian and Edwardian era past? Isn’t that what they accuse the right-libertarians of being?

          2. It doesn’t mean what they think it means.

          3. What is left libertarianism?

            Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism[6][7] or left-libertarianism)[8][9] is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic society without private property in the means of production. Libertarian socialists believe in converting present-day private productive property into common or public goods, while retaining respect for personal property.[10] Libertarian socialism is opposed to coercive forms of social organization. It promotes free association in place of government and opposes the social relations of capitalism, such as wage labor.[11] The term libertarian socialism is used by some socialists to differentiate their philosophy from state socialism,[12][13] and by some as a synonym for left anarchism.[6][7][14]

            Magic apparently.

            1. All it needs is the New LL Man!

            2. That is not what the bleeding heart libertarians believe. They are ok with private property.

            3. If you explained to them what free association actually meant they would tar and feather you

  7. Public Radio book reviewer recommends a history of Howard Johonson’s. I miss those guys (HoJos, not public radio)

    1. Howard Johnson’s

      1. How about the 28 flavors?

      2. He used to play for the Tigers. He’s doing pancakes now, I think…

    2. Last week I caught a music review of Lady Gaga’s latest, or something along those lines. The reviewer was dripping with scorn for it, but I got the sense that he was really dripping with scorn for the producers that put him on that assignment.

      Reviewing a history of Howard Johnson’s, or Lady Gaga’s latest album, must both be the kiss of death at Proletariat Radio.

  8. “I don’t want to see a bunch of pot parties on front yards,” he said


    I wonder if he has any clue just how stupid he sounds.

  9. Well, he should keep his kites out of my trees!

  10. As usual Charlie Sheen cuts to core, like a miniature Buddha. #WINNING

    LA the inane chaos the President is creating from today’s visit is abhorrent. and irresponsibly expensive. if is this is Obama-kare I’m out

    ? Charlie Sheen (@charliesheen) November 26, 2013


    1. Well there goes any Hollywood comeback. I mean bashing a Dem POTUS? Unforgiveable.

  11. It’s currently legal for adults to consume alcohol or smoke cigarettes on their porches or balconies, so we fail to understand why it should be illegal to use a far less harmful substance there….

    Uhg, the harmfulness isn’t the issue here.

    1. I hate this line of argument. It seems society has decided that Pot isn’t bad for you so it should be legal but Tobacco and Fatty Foods are bad for you so the government should ban/regulate it. So it doesn’t look like society is growing more socially tolerant of things they don’t like or that they think people should be allowed to ingest whatever substances they want.

      1. Here’s what makes this argument special: it actually resonates with The Normals.

        Democracy means we will always be ruled by these maroons.

      2. Yeah and in this case it is extra retarded. At least someone could argue that smelling weed or tobacco smoke is a nuisance to them, drinking a beer on your front porch doesn’t even affect you to that limited extent.

        1. Well that asshole next door seems to think he’s got some special fucking right to start his car in his own driveway Can you believe the nerve of that piece of shit? He should roll it out down the street before cranking it up so I don’t have to smell the exhaust!!


  12. I thought there was a vote whereby the people voted to make smoking weed LEGAL. Not a vote to have a city council pick and choose where it may be smoked.

    1. City Councils have banned tobacco smoking in certain places so why not pot?

      1. Can’t argue with that.

    2. That’s the problem. The people voted to legalize pot, without permission of the politicians. Therefore the politicians are making it as difficult as possible.


  13. So if society is growing more socially tolerant shouldn’t all the anti-tobacco and anti-drunk driving laws be repealed? Or how about lowering the marriage age, allowing children to work, lowering the age to drop out of school and repealing compulsory education laws?

      1. I’ve seen a bunch of Reason articles talking about how society is growing socially tolerant. What does “Social Tolerance” even mean?

        1. It means more liberty with respect to social issues.

          Do you have a problem with that?

          1. It means more liberty with respect to social issues.

            Well the thing is I don’t think society supports more liberty with regards to *all* social issues. Like say drunk driving laws or tobacco smoking.

            1. Did you see anyone here defending drunk driving laws or smoking laws?

              1. No I just don’t think it is correct to say that society is growing “social tolerant.” They are just more tolerant of things they like and intolerant of things they don’t like.

                1. So your entire beef with Reason isn’t that you disagree with libertarian philosophy, it’s that many at Reason feel things are getting MOAR libertarian and you disagree?

        2. I thought social tolerance meant not killing everyone for being not me.

    1. society is growing more socially tolerant

      Did someone actually say this?
      I hope they were joking.

  14. Saved by the update, or I’d have had to say, “CHARLIE BROWN, YOU BLOCKHEAD!”

  15. Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    1. What are you some sort of Russian Orthodox Thanksgiving celebrating commie?

      This is AMERICA and in AMERICA we celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, Ivan.

      1. Thanksgiving starts when the drinking starts.

        1. Soooo…

          It’s been Thanksgiving since 1996?

          1. cheers to you good man!

      2. Thanksgiving was back in October, man!
        Thursday is Football day.

        1. With a two-four of Steel Reserve, eh?

        2. Nuthin’ like spendin’ yer day off watching bud light commercials.

  16. OT: well if I had to drive a bunch of children around…at least she isn’t getting high

    1. I suppose driving while high will be a crime when pot is legal? If driving while on a legal substance like booze is a crime…

      1. I thought that having an open bottle of whiskey displayed real commitment on her part.

  17. Obviously the solution is to require all legal marijuana to be odorless when smoked.

    1. If seen some stuff recently where you could easily smell it in a baggie in a pocket from several feet away.

      1. LEO! Good doggie!

        1. LEO! Is it in her crotch, LEO? Check there, LEO! It is?!
          Well, let me examine it further!

  18. Any coincidence that this was in my “You might Like” queue on a page about pot? Needs some white gravy for dipping though:)

    1. So can we blame this on Katie Holmes and Scientology?

      1. He and Edward Norton should do a revival of the Honeymooners. Or the Flintstones.

    2. I’ve seen him do interviews, he seems like a pretty humble guy and not the sort of person that would be comfortable with an acting career and the fame it entails.

      So is he this generation’s Peter Ostrum?

      1. Anyone who wants nothing to do with fame is okay by me. I do, however wish a slow, agonizing death upon his character.

        I envy the shit out of him for getting to hang out with Rose Leslie. I likes em touched by fire!

        1. You’re absolutely right about Rose Leslie, but in that interview I saw Gleeson do he pointed out that he’s only met a handful of the cast members because the show is filmed all over Europe for different storylines.

          He’s only met Kit Harrington (Jon Snow) once and he’s never met Emilia Clarke.

          1. he’s never met Emilia Clarke

            No wonder he’s not interested in the career. Poor bastard.

  19. I was gonna read this article, but then

  20. I’m beginning to think progs don’t speak the same language we do.

    Sandra Fluke
    The far reach of these #supremecourt cases is why #labor, #racialjustice, #lgbtq advocates & all #p2 must be standing w/ #women! #inners

    All of those things appear to be words, but I’ll be damned if I can figure out what she’s yammering about.

    1. How feminists and libertarians are natural allies?

    2. I follow everything except #p2 and #inners?

      Anyways, I sure hope she was nice enough to go down on Rush Limbaugh in acknowledgment that he made her more famous than she ever would have been on her own.

      1. #inners includes people whose belly button caves in. As opposed to #outers.

    3. Revenge of the Nerds times 911.

    4. There is only one possible position for women to take in this case! Yay tolerance and open-mindedness!!

    5. What the hell is p2?

      1. Progressives, according to There’s also #p2ca for Canadian progs and #p2by for Belarusian progs.

  21. Jarrett fights for liberty

    A group of for-profit companies are currently suing to gain the right to deny employees access to coverage for birth control and contraceptive care, which are used by the overwhelming majority of American women in their lifetimes. Among the first cases to reach the Supreme Court is one filed by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts chain whose owners want to be able to take the option for birth control benefits away from their employees.

    We are confident the Supreme Court will agree that health decisions in this country should remain with individuals, in consultation with their doctors, families, faiths, and whomever else they personally trust. No corporate entity should be in position to limit women’s legal access to care, or to seize a controlling interest over the health care choices of women. To take that type of power away from individuals, and to let the personal beliefs of a woman’s boss dictate her health care choices would constitute a major step backward for women’s health, and self-determination.

    Let me see if I can fix that:

    To take that type of power away from individuals, and to let the personal beliefs of a woman’s boss GOVERNMENT dictate her their health care choices would constitute a major step backward for women’s health liberty and self-determination.

    1. You’re not free to do something unless your’e free to do it.

      “Free” as in not have to pay for, that is.

    2. No corporate entity should be in position to limit women’s legal access to care, or to seize a controlling interest over the health care choices of women

      Uh-huh, and who’s trying to do that? Is Hobby Lobby trying to stop female employees from buying contraceptives? Are they personally managing their employees’ finances to ensure that no money is allotted to contraceptives?

      Fuck you, Valerie Jarrett.

      1. “Fuck you, Valerie Jarrett.”
        Only with Obo’s dick.

  22. I refuse to shop at Hobby Lobby until they stock model rockets, model trains and radio-controlled boats, cars and planes. I bet they don’t even carry balsa wood gliders or ant farms.

    1. You can’t imagine how disappointed I was the first time I entered a Hobby Lobby only to find it was a supermarket full of housewife craft shit.

      1. I went in first one I saw. I had high hopes of a slot car track and an O-gauge layout that ran through the entire store.

        Their name is kinda a fraud. It is a craft store. I don’t think they even carry rock tumblers,

        1. The one in my town as half an aisle devoted to those Revell snap together model cars and tanks.

          1. You guys remember back when they made models of the stealth fighter before anyone knew what the stealth fighter looked like?

            Had like a “99% accurate” pasted on the side of the box. I totally wish I had bought one of those. Looked way cooler then what a real stealth fighter looked like.

            It was like a Blackbird but even more awesome looking.

            1. Nevermind…found it:


              1. That design was originally from a computer game from Micropose.

                Or at least, the game used that design.

    2. I want an RC tall ship. With cannons I can fire.

    3. I bought a sheet of black foam there. Been using it for a mouse pad.

  23. Obamacare has inspired a new McCarthyism

    We get it. Republicans don’t like the Affordable Care Act, aka ‘Obamacare’. But over the last few days I’ve noticed a new trend, or at least the frequency of it seems to be increasing. Let’s call it Obamacare McCarthyism, a new intra-Republican political cudgel cued up for the 2014 political season, in which different anti-Obamacare Republicans attack each other for either being crypto-supporters of Obamacare, being Obamacare-curious or even just having earlier periods of Obamacare confusion.

    Things got started yesterday with Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA), who, despite being very conservative, is probably the only Republican candidate for the Georgia Senate nomination who doesn’t make a habit of selling really crazy crap. Yesterday he said he doesn’t think it’s “the responsible thing to do” to simply let Obamacare collpase. Today he was attacked at for having “surrendered on Obamacare.”

    Today Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY), who’s being haplessly primaried by Liz Cheney, was hit by an ad from the conservative SuperPac Americans for Job Security which quotes him from a 2010 conference on Health Care Reform in which he said “I like the exchanges. These exchanges can be good.”

    Don’t Democrats snipe each other on guns and taxes as well?

    1. I love when Democrats start jabbering about McCarthyism.

      Let’s think about this for a moment.

      Joseph McCarthy was a man who attempted to gain power for himself, grandstand, and destroy his enemies by throwing around a word that people didn’t like, namely Communism, regardless of whether the person was actually a Communist.

      Democrats are attempting to gain power for themselves, grandstand, and destroy their enemies by throwing around a word that people don’t like, namely McCarthyism, regardless of whether the person in question is actually a McCarthyite.

      In other words, when Democrats fly off on these tangents about how their opponents are Joseph McCarthy…the Democrats are actually behaving exactly like Joseph McCarthy.

      1. AFAIK, there is nothing to like about the drunken cynic, but in spite of his sleaziness, some of the investigations found those who would do harm if they could find a way to do so. Or, in the Hollywood style, fantasized such.
        The hated ‘blacklist’ seems no so hateful to me; if someone promotes a political economy based on total thievery by the government, as a business owner, I’d find it quite proper to fire his ass and tell everyone I know about it.

  24. Frankie Muniz has a second stroke

    1. Life is unfair.

      1. I feel bad for him but LOL

        1. Yeah, nothing against Frankie and I hope he gets better but I couldn’t resist that one.

  25. California… knows how to party

    1. California lawmakers are pushing to ban the manufacturer or sale of imitation firearms in the state after a Northern California sheriff’s deputy shot and killed a 13-year-old boy who was carrying a BB gun last month.

      Couldn’t we just ban fucking stupid cops instead?

  26. Sick.

    The case of Ian Watkins, the singer of the Welsh band, Lostprophets, has reached a conclusion.

    Back on December 19, 2012, Watkins was arrested and hit with multiple charges of sexual offences towards kids. He initially claimed innocence.

    Watkins, 36, has pleaded guilty to thirteen different sexual offenses including–wait for it–two attempts at raping a baby. Two!
    In his appearance today, Watkins admitted to being a pedophile, although his lawyers says Watkins can’t remember the attempted baby rapes because he’d been taking drugs on that day.

    1. Wish he would have been a normal Welshman and targeted a sheep instead.

    1. Michael McDonald might possibly be the most annoying male singer of all time.

  27. in NERD vs NERD everybody loses

    1. Console gamers are not nerds.

  28. We talk to a representative from a Montana town that changed their name to Banff Alberta Canada, to increase accidental tourism.

    1. Well there was that small Montana town that changed it’s name to Joe in order to capitalize on the football player’s popularity, but this one is a little hard to believe.

      1. Truth or Consequences!

        1. How would you like to be the mayor of Horneytown, North Carolina?

            1. Huh, I’ve reached Cumming, Georgia many times by way of Fucking, Austria.


              The frequently stolen traffic sign,[1] at the entrance to the village of Fucking.

          1. Intercourse PA, right down the road from Blue Ball and Middlesex.

          2. We have two towns in Sunny Minnesota named Fertile and Climax.

            This led to the wonderful headline “Fertile woman dies in Climax”

    2. Outstanding idea. We could be Paris, France.

    3. This Is That is a current affairs program that doesn’t just talk about the issues, it fabricates them. Nothing is off limits–politics, business, culture, justice, science, religion–if it is relevant to Canadians, we’ll find out the “This” and the “That” of the story.

      Each week, hosts Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring introduce you to the voices and stories that give this country character in this 100% improvised, satirical send-up of public radio.

      1. There was another one of theirs that went viral a few weeks back, just believable enough, can’t remember what it was.

        1. Kids Soccer without balls?
          Also, their story about a Texas town adding sugar to their water to encourage citizens to drink more water?

          1. I think it was the soccer one, ha ha.

  29. Gawker: George Zimmerman owned FIVE GUNS OF DEATH

    A search warrant made public by the Seminole County court clerk on Tuesday shows that model citizen George Zimmerman was in possession of a 12-gauge shotgun, an AR-15 assault rifle, three handguns, and more than 100 rounds of ammo when he was arrested Nov. 18 on domestic violence charges.

    That’s it?

    Cue the comments:

    AshisyouULacey Donohue321L
    “But, this doesn’t change what Trayvon did!!1!”, cry all the racist trolls. Yesterday 8:34pm

    Lacey DonohueUAshisyou501L
    I can’t wait until they start pointing out that 100 rounds of ammo is only two boxes. As though that’s an important point to make. Yesterday 8:37pm

    Sean BrodyULacey Donohue411L
    You can never really have enough ammo. Or guns.
    Or hate. Or fear. Yesterday 8:39pm

  30. 6, 8, 15 if your wife is super hot, 17 is from a Borges story, why is 20 and 21 just for kids, 25 is for Superman, and maybe 29.

    The rest are just annoying.
    5 is stupid.

    1. You wouldn’t want an aquarium bed or balcony pool?

      1. only if I can get enough orphans to maintain them.

    2. #5 is stolen from Brian Wilson. He is supposed to have had his piano set in a sandbox.

      1. Can you imagine trying to keep the surrounding floor clean?

        You’d need a whole bunch of dedicated orphans, putting a dent in the diamond mine productivity.

        1. Or a fleet of Roombas.

    3. I need a Cat transit system…then I need to learn how to change into a cat.

    4. Those ones involving sand wouldn’t work out well if you have a cat…

      A giant litterbox, just for me?

  31. If only there were a libertarian magazine that was prepared to inform its readers rather than ring alarm bells over, well, nothing really.

    From the article you linked:

    “Denver is the first big city in the world to devise rules over the consumption of recreational pot.”

    The rules are almost certainly more draconian in every non-Denver neighborhood on the planet, so yeah, I can see why you’d highlight that rather than, this, from the article linked in your update:

    “Regardless of whether the law passes, Denver Police Chief Robert White said enforcement would be the police department’s lowest priority.

    “Our primary (goal) would be compliance,” he said.

    If the alleged offender was no longer on the porch or smoking marijuana when officers arrive, “that would be the end of our action,” White said.”

    So to review….in Denver, if you smoke weed on your front porch, the cops may show up. They will tell you to put it out and tell you not to do it again.

    Anywhere else in the world, you’re liable to be arrested.

    But you’re mad at the Denver city council?????

  32. lol, thats pretty funny when you think about it man.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.