Vote looms on proposed Denver ban on pot smoking in public view

Miguel Lopez, a customer at Club 64, Denver's first marijuana club, say smoking in public 'is what the voters of Colorado wanted.' Some members of the Denver City Council aren't so sure. (Photo: CNN)

Miguel Lopez, a customer at Club 64, Denver's first marijuana club, say smoking in public 'is what the voters of Colorado wanted.' Some members of the Denver City Council aren't so sure. (Photo: CNN)

DENVER — On Monday night, the public will sound off on whether Denver residents should be permitted to be seen smoking marijuana even on private property.

It’s a heated issue, and a final vote is expected at a City Council meeting on Monday.

Some say that since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, they should be able to stand in their own front yard and smoke – even if they are in public view. Others say it would be offensive if the public was forced to bear witness to the usage of a drug they do not support.

At first, Denver council members voted to prohibit pot smoking in public view, but then voted last week to throw out the proposed restriction.

“I just don’t think it should be wrong for someone to smoke on their own private property,” Councilman Paul Lopez said.

Other council members, like Debbie Ortega, refused to change their votes.

“It will be far easier to loosen things than to take those flood gates and try to close them at some point and time later,” Ortega said.

But Councilman Albus Brooks and enough others did reverse their votes, angering those like Gina Carbone with Smart Colorado, who says there must be tougher restrictions on pot.

“Kowtowing to the marijuana industry,” Carbone said. “That’s what it’s all about in Colorado, I guess.”

That will likely be one criticism brought up at Monday night’s meeting — that the City Council is putting the desires of the marijuana industry ahead of considerations for families and children.

The hearing is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday.