Breckenridge, Colorado, Legalizes Pot | Can They Do That?

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009 By

Penalties for possession removed

No more doctors note needed in Breckenridge, Colorado.

No more doctor's note needed in Breckenridge, Colorado.

The federal government still states that possession of marijuana is illegal, as does the state of Colorado. However, in the city of Breckenridge, Colorado, people who possess less than an ounce of pot will not face any criminal or civil charges.

Yes, on election day 2009, Breckenridge, Colorado, voters made marijuana legal — to an extent. Basically, police who work for the City of Breckenridge can’t charge people with a crime for possessing up to an ounce of marijuana, though the police chief says they “still have the ability to exercise discretion.” Let’s pick this apart, shall we?

No state revenue

People often argue that pot should be legalized because it would bring in revenue through sales tax for states and perhaps provide some debt relief. However, Breckenridge, Colorado, has legalized only the possession of pot, not the sale of it. So the only people who benefit financially are still the dealers, who can still be busted if they’re found with more than an ounce.

Furthermore, anyone who gets caught by state police or federal agents can still be arrested for pot possession. So, really, the numerous publications that are saying the vote was “largely symbolic” are right on the money.

Do you have a doctor’s note?

Of course, medical marijuana is legal in the State of Colorado, and unfortunately for the voters of Breckenridge, Colorado, their symbolic vote might get the state some extra attention from the feds. In states such as California, where medical marijuana is illegal, federal agents are trying to shut down dispensaries.

This is, of course, because even medical marijuana is still illegal on a federal level. Now that Breckenridge, Colorado, has established itself as a progressive player in the game of legalizing marijuana, the state might become more of a target for federal enforcement of pot laws. Then again, maybe they don’t care if a bunch of hippies in a ski town smoke a bowl. I guess we’ll see.

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This post has 3 comments

  1. Don't smoke Don't drink says:

    This writer is obviously… really bad.

    She incorrectly states pot is illegal in CA, and CO. Not exactly. What about medical marijuana? She also indicates the Feds are attempting to shut down legal dispensaries in CA. Wrong. Try “ILLEGAL” unlicensed dispensaries.

    She refers to the new law as symbolic, when it really is not symbolic but rather a law that was passed and will be adhered to by law enforcement and courts of the fine city of Breckinridge. The law is basically saying – hey if you have under an ounce we don’t want to spend our money on law enforcement efforts, courts, and paper pushers to collect a $100 fine, we have more important things to do – just be discreet, be responsible and have no more than 1 oz. and we’ll leave you alone. What a refreshingly progressive smart thinking town Breckenridge is! They understand the miniscule problems truly associated with marijuana compared to the GIGANTIC problems, and costs the legal system creates when dealing with marijuana policing and arrests.

    The medical marijuana laws are … for lack of a better word…. sad. Why does a patient have to register with the State to get marijuana? Patients don’t need to register with the State for any other prescription, the majority of which are MUCH more harmful than marijuana. Much more harmful to the patient AND the community. Have you seen the debilitating effects from someone addicted to pain pills? It is refreshing to see that the officials in Breckenridge may agree, and actually understand that there are bigger issues to concern their law enforcement, courts, and administrators.

    I also don’t follow the statement of this Author, “the only ones who benefit from this law are the dealers.” Huh? It seems to me the “buyer” benefits greatly by not being harassed, fined, possibly arrested for failure to pay a fine and the failure to appear in court, not to mention publicly embarassed (if they are a closet smoker – as many are forced to be, due to stigma from some uninformed uneducated pompous people who may read misinformation regarding marijuana that has been circulated by authors – such as this one).

    Also, “more attention from the Feds”? Just reading this article makes me cringe. Obviously not much research was done. The Federal stance from the horses mouth is “to only target illegal operations.” That would actually indicate Breckenridge set itself up for “LESS” attention from the Feds.

    The sooner people wake up and realize how badly their civil rights have been trampled by having to get a medical referral which has to be reviewed by the State, pay a fee to the State ANNUALLY for the right to buy their meds, and then indicate to the State “who” they are buying their meds from, and if they change who they buy their meds from they need to notify the State, and if they no longer need their meds they need to notify the State, and … well you get the idea……bureaucracy with no benefit to the patient, but rather requiring the patient to jump thru more hoops and pay more money than for any other drug, AND be on a “Government list” and issued a separate ID card. How come we don’t need a Viagra card, or an Valium card, or better yet an Oxycodone card, or Zoloft card. Maybe we should have a list of everyone taking antidepressants as they tend to “lose it” every so often. And how about a list of drinkers. If you drink alcohol you have to get a separate ID card so we know you may be drunk. Not just a stated ID card, but a separate “drinkers card”. The State could allow ads on the cards from liquor companies and generate more money. OK… I got off on a bit of a rant.

    Elizabeth Fairchild – PLEASE proofread, and research before you write. It might be nice if you tried to connect with your readers by providing facts, and useful information rather than a bunch of misinformation and dribble.

  2. jkliii says:

    The article writer, Elizabeth Fairchild, really did a crap job of reporting a remarkable legal advancement! How biased is she against legalizing marijuana? Get a writer that's interested in the subject.

    She says that the achievment is '"largely symbolic"'. There's nothing symbolic about it. It's actual. Those possessing up to an ounce of marijuana within the city limits of Breckenridge, CO, can not be arrested by city police.

    And, how do dealers benefit financially? I still can't figure that one. It sounds like more doomsday hogwash by someone that opposes the idea of legalization.

    She inaccurately states that medical marijuana in California is illegal. It's legal under Califonia state law, but, not under federal law.

    Her seemingly gleeful focus seemed to be on the feds retaliation in Colorado because of Breckenridge's new law rather than on the clear, progress made by the enlightened Breckenridge voters in the ludicrous, wasteful, counterproductive war on drugs!!!

    Breckenridge should be celebrated and emulated, not intimidated and castigated!

    • Jetstream says:


      "Then again, maybe they don’t care if a bunch of hippies in a ski town smoke a bowl. I guess we’ll see."

      Another uninformed blogger going at it.

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