In Boulder, tickets for smoking pot in public have quadrupled since legalization

In Boulder, tickets for smoking pot in public have quadrupled since legalization

VicesDecember 23, 2013

Remember last November when Colorado legalized weed? And the sun burst through the skies? And birds sang and the people rejoiced? And it was such a momentous occasion, that stoners lifted their heads from their Pizza Pockets and exclaimed a triumphant "Radical, man?" Wasn't that nice?

Yeah, it was. Until the reality of the situation started to sink in, and Colorado's hazy, poorly advertised regulation laws started to kick in.

The first being that you can't blaze that dragon bong in public. If you're on public property or private property that isn't your own, and there are people around you, and you take a lighter to that perfectly-packed bowl, then congratulations, you're officially a criminal.That means no smoking at shows, bars, restaurants, campus, Curves, your cousin's glow stick store, or outside on your daily walk of shame through the park. But getting high in the privacy of your own home where no one can see you is totally fine.

Because it totally matters how high you'll act, and therefore how 'dangerous' you are, if you light up in your basement or on your way to your strip tease exercise class. Let's all say it at once: 'not.'

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why we've seen tickets for public pot use in Boulder quadruple since legalization last year. In 2012, just 29 tickets for smoking in public were issued, compared to 113 in 2013, and the year's not even over yet. And although they're adorably named 'tickets,' what they really are are a $500 fine and up to 90 days in jail for smoking something that is legal to smoke.

Boulder Police Chief Mark Becker thinks it has something to do with the fact that people feel emboldened by legalization and feel smoking in public has become their legal right. Oh, so people shouldn't feel that something that is legal is their legal right? Makes sense.

And while we get that legalization came with regulatory legislation that would prohibit us smoking weed  free-for-all style, we didn't quite realize the extent to which it would continue to be prosecuted. Now that there are new laws to break, we're seeing an increase in police behavior towards people who smoke in public because people aren't aware of the laws...or the laws are self-contradictory.

So, if you're going to smoke in public, do the responsible thing and scan the perimeter for cops. With that said, we'd like to take this moment to present to you the right way to smoke in public and get away with it: