By Steve Baska
Since the new Colorado law legalizing recreational marijuana use went into effect January 1, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has kept on eye on marijuana usage in Castle Pines to ensure compliance. But many people may still wonder what exactly is allowed under the city and state laws that apply, so Douglas County Undersheriff Tony Spurlock explained it to The Connection:
“In [the city of] Castle Pines and the unincorporated parts of Douglas County, you’re only allowed to smoke marijuana if you’re over 21 and in your private residence,” he said. No medical marijuana or recreational marijuana stores are allowed in the city or in the unincorporated areas due to laws passed by both entities.
But even smoking within a private residence can bring up issues. “Technically you must be in a residence, but if we got a call, for example, from an apartment resident that a next door neighbor is smoking with his slider door open and the smoke is drifting into the neighbor’s apartment, then the statute says marijuana cannot be used in a manner endangering a non-user, so we would have probable cause to go the apartment and say you are impacting your neighbors. But, we have not received any complaints like that yet.”
The same applies to home residents. They are technically not allowed to smoke marijuana on their decks or in their yards. In public areas, a private business could allow smoking legally within its building, but there is no marijuana smoking allowed in county parks, land, or in city streets or public parking lots, Spurlock said.
One local statistic of note is that arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) recently rose in Castle Pines, going from 17 in 2012 to 27 in 2013. DUI includes the influence of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs (statistics are not available for those drugs separately). “I think the increase in DUI in Castle Pines is due to the increase in population and especially the increased traffic enforcement we are doing. We have one patrol car in Castle Pines 24 hours a day at a minimum,” Spurlock said.
Drivers are not allowed to smoke marijuana while driving, just as they are not allowed to drink alcohol while driving, he said. If a driver is suspected of being under the influence of marijuana, he may be asked to take a blood test.
For details about why Douglas County commissioners unanimously opposed the marijuana state law, visit