The cascade of new recreational cannabis initiatives that have been passed across the country in recent years has led many to wonder whether they will be allowed to imbibe in public.
The Promised Land for cannabis consumers first passed its legalization initiative in 2012. It’s stratified – rather, high – position in the minds of cannabis activists and users comes despite the fact that the state has made the public consumption of cannabis illegal.
The text of Colorado’s law states that consumption of cannabis is legal,
…[P]rovided that nothing in this section shall permit consumption that is conducted openly and publicly or in a manner that endangers others.
As of July 1, 2015, Oregonians are allowed to grow up to four plants on their property, possess up to eight ounces of usable marijuana in their homes and up to one ounce on their person. Recreational marijuana cannot be sold or smoked in public.
The state is final of the three to have passed a cannabis legalization initiative in 2012. Despite the state’s liberal attitude toward the substance, however, it remains illegal to consume in view of the public.
The passage of California’s Proposition 64 was perhaps the crown jewel of the legalization movement, heralding the dawn of not only a new era in cannabis public policy but also the addition of tens of millions of people to the ranks of those who could soon smoke legally.
Despite its status, however, the Golden State’s legalization initiative – Proposition 64 – clearly states that cannabis use is illegal in all public places. According to the text of the initiative, the measure would,
Prohibit the consumption of marijuana in a public place unlicensed for such use, including near K-12 schools and other areas where children are present.
Cannabis use has long been popular among Bay State residents, kid. With the comfortable passage of Question 4 last November, the state enshrined the substance’s legal usage into law.
Just because cannabis will soon be available for purchase, however, does not mean that it will be legal to consume in public: Question 4 clearly states that public consumption of the substance is a big no-no.
No person shall consume marijuana in a public place or smoke marijuana where smoking tobacco is prohibited. A person who violates this subsection shall be punished by a civil penalty of not more than $100.
The measure goes on to say, however, that the restrictions do not apply to individuals who consume the substance in a designated area of a location in which the substance is allowed to be consumed.
The nation’s biggest state approved of cannabis legalization via a ballot initiative in 2014. Only recently has the state seen its first flourishing of cannabis shops.
The initiative, however, does not allow for public consumption of cannabis and makes such usage punishable by a fine of up to $100.
The Silver State was also one of the handful that passed legalization initiatives in 2016, continuing the trend of the country’s Western states leading the way on the issue.
Unfortunately for fans of cannabis, the state frowns upon public consumption. According to the text of the initiative,
A person who smokes or otherwise consumes marijuana in a public place, in a retail marijuana store, or in a moving vehicle is guilty of a misdemeanor punished by a fine of not more than $600.
In what was easily the closest call to date among cannabis legalization initiatives, Pine Tree State voters approved this past November by less than half a percentage point.
In a blow to cannabis lovers, however, the initiative does not allow for public consumption. As the text of the measure states,
[A] person who smokes marijuana in a public place other than as governed by law commits a civil violation for which a fine of not more than $100 may be adjudged.
The District’s voters are famous fans of cannabis. That enthusiasm, however, could land cannabis consumers in hot water for public consumption.
According to the DC government website,
A person can still be arrested for… smoking, eating, or drinking marijuana – or holding or carrying a lighted roll of paper or other lighted smoking equipment filled with marijuana – in any public space.