As Douglas County and the municipalities banned recreational marijuana right off the bat, those who wish to grow their own supply are nervous about getting raided, despite most police agencies saying they will be doing nothing special when it comes to enforcement of recreational marijuana use.
Amendment 64 passed in 2012, allowing Colorado residents to possess up to an ounce of marijuana on their person and up to five plants for personal possession in their homes. It also laid the foundation for the regulatory framework for a recreational marijuana industry. But the amendment also gave Colorado governments the choice to ban recreational storefronts in their communities, and all jurisdictions have implemented a ban with no intention of lifting it anytime soon.
“Since 2000, four different elections have included a ballot item on marijuana-related issues. Given the majority vote each time against aspects of marijuana use, possession, facilities and more, we believe the ordinance honors voter sentiment on this issue,” county commissioner Jack Hilbert said in a statement in 2012 when the county banned recreational storefronts in unincorporated areas of the county, including Highlands Ranch.
That sentiment is shared by other community leaders in the county — the people just don’t want it. The jurisdictions within the county also outlawed medical marijuana establishments a couple years ago.
Pro-legalization lawyer Rob Corry said because of the bans, people who grow their own supply in Douglas County, either as caretakers for medical marijuana patients or for their own use, are afraid to talk to the media because they’re nervous about possible raids.
“If you can get a policeman to admit that they would never raid someone for marijuana under Amendment 64, if they would actually say that, my people would go on record, but I can’t imagine they’d say that,” Corry said.
“Ready, aim, fire is reversed to fire, ready, aim on marijuana,” he added.
But Lt. Glenn Peitzmeier, spokesman for the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, said deputies don’t plan to step up enforcement of personal use or personal cultivation from what they’ve done before. The county just put limits on the sale of the drug and not personal use or growing. He said if someone is identified as having a fairly large grow operation, or if there are complaints made, they would pursue that simply because that might constitute cultivation for sale and distribution.
He said they have had complaints about people smoking marijuana in their homes, but if they’re older than 18 and have a medical marijuana allowance, there’s not much they can do about it under the law.
Jack Cauley, Castle Rock chief of police, said his department is not doing anything differently in terms of enforcement of personal use or cultivation, but said the enforcement and penalties for growing too many plants would be tailored to the specific circumstances. He said there’s not an across-the-board set of actions that would be taken.
“We may receive a tip that there are residents of a household who are violating the law and we would investigate whether a violation has occurred or not,” Cauley said. “Certainly, we are always cognizant of violations of the law and when they are observed or we believe there are violations, we will proceed in taking proper enforcement action.”
According to Elise Penington, spokeswoman for Parker, town council, “determined that the secondary effects of retail marijuana to the Parker community outweighed any benefit (such as tax revenue).”
A similar sentiment was echoed by Lone Tree’s City Council, which outlawed recreational marijuana storefronts early last year.
Time will tell how stringent enforcement of personal use and cultivation is in Douglas County, but Corry said until then his clients are keeping mum.