FREDERICK — While a state joint committee is set to debate the nuances of legalizing marijuana, municipalities are preparing for the practical application of Amendment 64, which voters approved last fall to allow possession of marijuana for adults older than 21 years old.
The Frederick Board of Trustees grappled with one such issue Feb. 26: the possession of drug paraphernalia, which is prohibited by the town’s municipal code.
The board unanimously approved a change that would allow possession of marijuana accessories for adults over than 21.
If a marijuana accessory is found in possession of a minor, Frederick police would be able issue a complaint and a summons to municipal court. Frederick police will receive a bulletin outlining the changes and definitions for paraphernalia.
Marijuana possession at any age remains illegal at the federal level. Weld County commissioners approved a ban earlier this year on the operation of marijuana cultivation facilities, marijuana product manufacturing facilities, marijuana-testing facilities, and/or retail marijuana stores within the unincorporated area of Weld County.
Before the vote, Trustee Rafer Burnham asked town prosecutor Kristin Brown for clarification of the objective of the ordinance.
“I’ve been trying to figure out the overreaching logic that you’re applying here to define this ‘piece of pie,’ right? Sounds like we’ve divided this pie in half, logically; we have the illegal stuff, and we have the marijuana on the other side, right?” Burnham asked. “But even the marijuana side, now we’re dividing that into quarters because there’s the age limit: it’s legal over 21, and not below 21. But on that side of the pie, we’re still going to call the paraphernalia accessories.”
Brown responded that the word choice of the ordinance reflected the terms used in Amendment 64.
“So all paraphernalia is illegal, but then we’re going to create a definition where accessories may or may not be illegal, depending on the age?” Burnham asked.
Brown confirmed Burnham’s description, saying that the ordinance would provide guidance for Frederick police to assess whether an item was lawful or not.
“They’ll investigate whether there’s probable cause for ‘accessory,’ or probable cause for ingestion of other illegal drugs,” Brown said. “And unfortunately, I really feel this whole area is going to get nothing but more complicated.”
Contact Ben Wiebesiek at
303-659-2522, ext. 205, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.