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Defining ‘public’

Raid on Denver Pot Club Illustrates Continued Intolerance of Marijuana Consumption Outside the Home

Last week Denver police raided and shut down Maryjane’s Social Club, one of the few places in Colorado, aside from private residences, where people could legally smoke pot. Or so it seemed. Maryjane’s did not advertise and was open only to paying members, but in the eyes of Denver officials that was not sufficiently private. […]

But to qualify as a private club, Douglas says, an organization would have to satisfy the “balancing test” set forth by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit in U.S. v. Lansdowne Swim Club, a 1990 discrimination case. That test includes factors such as the club’s selectivity, its history and mission, the formalities it observes, whether it advertises for members, whether its facilities are used by nonmembers, the control that members have over the club’s operations, and whether the club generates profits for the people who run it.

That’s just utter hogwash.

He’s taking the definition of a private club in a completely different context and trying to apply it to anything that’s “not public.”

The law doesn’t say that marijuana has to be smoked in a private club. Rather is says that it’s an offense to consume marijuana “openly and publicly.”

From any fair reading of the intent of the law, that’s clearly a prohibition against smoking it around others who would be surprised or bothered by it. In other words, out on the street, or lighting up in a regular restaurant, etc.

You don’t need to charge a membership fee, and you certainly don’t have to be a private club as defined in U.S. vs. Lansdowne Swim Club.

Really all you should need is a sign that says, “Beyond this point, people may be smoking cannabis. If that bothers you, don’t go there.”

Now, fortunately in other areas of the state, private clubs are not running into trouble. But they shouldn’t have to worry at all (other than meeting normal regulatory requirements of establishments). Legalization of marijuana does not mean that users are to hide in their homes in shame.

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14 comments to Defining ‘public’

  • Uncle Albert's Nephew

    I was hoping that this would be legalization more or less on the model of alcohol. The political class, otoh, seems to want to do this on the red state abortion model.

  • Frank W.

    The police will always ignore changes to the law they don’t like. For example the latest scotus ruling on cell phone searches isn’t going to stop them from doing that, just a few more taxpayer dollars paying lawsuit settlements.
    To mangle a phrase of Chris Hedges, all the tinder of revolution is here, though no one knows what the spark will be.

  • Francis

    Really all you should need is a sign that says, “Beyond this point, people may be smoking cannabis. If that bothers you, don’t go there.”

    How about we just post those signs outside the homes of prohibitionists (so that the signs face their front doors)? We might even want to make them a little more general: “beyond this point lies the rest of the world. You don’t own it or the people in it. If you choose to continue beyond this point, there’s a chance that you will encounter some of those people exercising their God-given rights, sometimes in ways that you might find personally distasteful or offensive. If you can’t handle that, do yourself and everyone else a favor and stay home.”

  • Jean Valjean

    Weren’t they just recently dissembling about how part of the psychological damage done by cannabis is agoraphobia? Perhaps it’s for the best then?

    • Duncan20903

      Why is it that psychiatrists who specialize in treating agoraphobia don’t make house calls?

  • Duncan20903

    Wow, as if the City of Denver wasn’t in deep kimchi with the Feds because of their jail.

  • claygooding

    My legalization model has garage and storage building smoke caves on private property,,as long as you can keep the kids away and the noise at an acceptable decibel,,one way to meet your neighbors even some from several blocks away as the grapevine grows..

    It will take several lost civil suits before law enforcement starts backing off,,,with the loss of marijuana arrest verification for federal funding they are searching for a new source of easy drug arrests.

    • primus

      Go after the alcohol abusers. There is no government money in it, but the fines are large and conviction is relatively easy what with per se guilt. All the LEO must do is get a sample over the limit and the state gets a nice fat fine income. Surely a little appreciation money will flow back in the form of budgets, only not as much as before. Net effect on society of reducing drunkenness and drunk driving is an improvement.

  • allan

    Canada’s ‘Prince of Pot’ to be released from U.S. prison

    When he was first arrested almost a decade ago, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency heralded his seizure as a “significant blow” to the legalization movement.

    This a great example of how dumn the prohibs will look historically. And to think… they even took down Tommy Chong and we managed to get this far anyway. Wow.

    I think if I looked – publicly – really dumn in the present and looked – publicly – even dumnerer historically I’d go hide. My kids would have worn paper bags over their heads and T-shirts that said “I’m not with stupid –>”

  • DdC

    Jodie Emery @JodieEmery
    Disappointed: didn’t include reason for arrest being political, admitted by DEA “@HuffPostBC: http://huff.to/1xI1S0e

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Br-3EALCUAAbvhn.jpg:large

    Your story isn’t very good, @HuffPostBC – you make it sound like he’s just a drug dealer when he NEVER sold drugs & it was clearly political

    DEA admits they tracked all the money Marc made w/seeds, confirmed it was all given to political activism @HuffPostBC https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Br-4s1gCEAI5TiR.jpg:large

    A Drug Warmongers Toll on Americans – 03/31/06
    Re: Boycott Radio Shack a TP Tandy Corporation
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/364

    Canada’s Supremes Cower Under DEAth Threats – 12/24/03
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/384

  • I just did a Yelp search of strip clubs in Denver. I’ll bet the women there are NEVER cited for public nudity. Just sayin’…