(RJ Sangosti, Denver Post file)

Aurora may allow smoking pot anywhere on private property

AURORA — Front porch, side yard, driveway, balcony? Pot smokers may be able to light up a joint in any of those places on private property in Aurora.

That’s the recommendation from a city committee Tuesday studying recreational marijuana regulations.

Unlike Denver, which wrung its hands for weeks and had countless hours of debate over where to allow smoking weed on private property, Aurora is moving forward a proposal that doesn’t define where people can smoke pot on private property.

“If you are on private property, it’s the same as having a beer,” Assistant City Attorney Dave Lathers said.

But you may not have carte blanche to smoke anywhere on private property, either.

“The odds are very high police we will not take enforcement, but we’re not excluding that,” Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said after the meeting. “Our officers will exercise discretion. But at no point will we waste officers’ time.”

Still a bit hazy?

Police might respond if neighbors object to excessive pot smoking, for instance. City Councilwoman Molly Markert, one of three council members on the committee, said she was OK with that approach.

“I don’t mind it being complaint-driven,” Markert said. “But there is a point I don’t want to sanction Gestapo-neighbor sanctions.”

The recommendation, along with others, will be forwarded to the full city council for consideration, so things are subject to change. Still, it seems the city is set on letting people smoke pot responsibly.

What you won’t be able to do is blow pot smoke in the face of a police officer or other city employee on private or public property. That could draw the wrath of the law.

Oates said the city will “develop a culture of what is acceptable in Aurora” and make any adjustments.

An Aurora committee has been meeting for months dealing with issues such as location of marijuana retail outlets. The earliest a shop could open is Oct. 1.

The committee has also recommended to the city council that it cap the number of marijuana shops in Aurora at 20, but future councils could increase or decrease that number.

The full Aurora City Council has not yet voted on any final recommendations.

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