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Mountain News: The right to puff your bong ends where?



CARBONDALE, Colo. — What to some noses is the sweet aroma of burning marijuana is, to other nostrils, acrid and sickening. Given this wide band of aesthetics, should smoking of marijuana in outdoor places but on private property be restricted?

That's one of the finer points of marijuana legalization as towns and counties in Colorado draft laws regulating sale and use of the leafy herb beginning in January. Unlike other mountain towns, Carbondale will allow the sale and growing of marijuana.

But should people be able to smoke marijuana on their back patios? What if that smoke drifts into a neighbour's air space?

The Aspen Daily News reports that Carbondale town trustees have decided that the fewer rules, the better. Oh, smoking of marijuana will be illegal on sidewalks, alleys, and public parks, among other public places. But on your own private property, no restrictions, similar to smoking of tobacco.

"I think it would be better if we deal with this as it comes up," said Mayor Stacey Bernot at a recent meeting. "If things are getting out of hand, maybe we can address it or it can be on a neighbour-to-neighbour basis. What may be an offensive smell to me may not be to another person."

But where can marijuana be grown? Again, the Carbondale trustees have decided against trying to conceive every possible circumstance. Growing can only be done in "enclosed, locked space," such as a backyard.

Gene Schilling, the police chief, said enforcement will vary based upon circumstances. A citation will be issued if, for example, a child enters a greenhouse that wasn't locked, eats marijuana, and gets sick. A neighbour complaining about an unlocked door would yield a reminder.

He also said that he foresees police treating marijuana use much like alcohol. Currently, it's illegal to have beer and other forms of alcohol in public spaces, such as on sidewalks or parks. In 99 per cent of cases, he said, his officers just require the person to pour out the alcohol.

The same would apply to people smoking marijuana, with the exception that the new rules allow police to confiscate any marijuana.

Aspen mayor explores uphilling opportunities

ASPEN, Colo. — For several decades now, more and more skiers have been freeing their heels. Freed in that way, they can climb up the ski slopes as well as ski down, sometimes using telemark turns. With randonee gear, it's possible to go uphill with free heels and downhill with the greater ability offered by a fixed heel.

Aspen Mayor Steve Skadron, himself an avid uphill and backcountry skier, thinks his town and the sport should have a stronger alliance. The Aspen Daily News reports that Skadron has met with executives of Scarpa, the U.S. distributor of Italian-made Ski Trab products. He also contacted La Portiva, another Italian manufacturer of ski mountaineering equipment, to explore how they might increase their presence in the Roaring Fork Valley.