While recreational marijuana cannot be purchased in Delta or surrounding communities, its use becomes lawful on Jan. 1. That's the effective date of Amendment 64, which was approved by voters in the 2012 general election.
While 55% of the state's residents approved the measure, the majority of Delta County voters were opposed. That's been used as the basis for the majority of communities in Delta County that have decided to "opt out" of a provision allowing retail sales of recreational marijuana. In Paonia, the question will go to the voters in November 2014.
"The vote was so close for medical marijuana, we felt the citizens should determine what they want in Paonia," said town clerk Barb Peterson.
In the meantime, those willing to make the drive to Telluride or Summit County to purchase marijuana or marijuana edibles are reminded they must be 21 or older, and they cannot possess more than one ounce of marijuana. Medical marijuana card holders are limited to two ounces.
Delta Police Chief Robert Thomas said any marijuana in excess of the legal limit will be confiscated and the owner will have to request its release through the court system. The owner will also face a summons or arrest.
Both he and Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee recognize marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
"Although federal authorities haven't aggressively investigated marijuana possession, that doesn't mean they couldn't change their position," the sheriff said.
McKee said the sheriff's office will be investigating all reports of non-compliance issues, including the limit of six on the number of plants authorized under Amendment 64. "We will seek prosecution in cases we deem are illegal," he said.
The law requires marijuana be consumed in private, not in a public space. McKee said there's been a lot of discussion about whether an individual's front yard or patio are public or private. The bottom line, he said: Be considerate of your neighbors and their children.
"Just as with cigarette smoke, there is a secondhand product with marijuana smoke," he said.
Marijuana can also be consumed as an edible, and in many cases can be very attractive to children. Brownies, cookies, lollipops and other treats containing marijuana should be placed out of reach of children, he said. "That's already become a problem in metropolitan areas, where they've seen a significant increase in the number of children admitted to the hospital with a high level of THC in their system," he said.blog comments powered by Disqus