Colorado: City Shelves Proposed Pot Penalties

Lafayette, CO:  Lafayette City Council members have abruptly withdrawn a proposed ordinance that sought to significantly increase municipal penalties for minor marijuana possession.

Council members shelved the proposal late last week following the resignation of Lafayette Municipal Court Associate Judge Lenny Frieling, who stepped down to protest the measure.  Frieling, who is a lifetime member of NORML’s legal committee, told the Council that he would be “morally and ethically unable to sit as a judge for the city” if they enacted the law.

As proposed, Ordinance No. 6 would have made 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.

The City Council was to have affirmed the ordinance this week. Council members instead elected to hold a public workshop on the measure in April. 

Last November, a majority of Lafayette voters decided in favor of Amendment 44, which sought to remove all criminal penalties on the possession of one ounce of cannabis.

For more information, please contact Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500.  An interview with Attorney Lenny Frieling is available on the February 20, 2007 edition of the NORML Daily AudioStash.