Colorado: Judge Resigns Rather Than Impose New Pot Penalties

Washington, DC: A Boulder County Municipal Court Judge has resigned from his position to protest a pending ordinance that would enact new citywide pot penalties.

Lafayette Municipal Court Associate Judge Lenny Frieling resigned from the bench after eight years following the city council’s interim approval of an ordinance to make minor marijuana possession offenses punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Under Colorado law, minor pot violations are punishable by a $100 fine and no jail time.

“Since you have seen fit to increase the penalty for cannabis possession, … I find that I am morally and ethically unable to sit as a judge for the city,” Frieling wrote in his resignation letter. Frieling is a lifetime member of NORML and serves on the organization’s legal committee.

The Lafayette City Council is scheduled to hold a final hearing on the proposed ordinance next week.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500 or visit: