Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado for individuals age 21 and older, but the Denver City Council is going a step further to protect young people who are caught illegally possessing marijuana. The council voted unanimously on Monday to decriminalize marijuana possession of under one ounce for individuals age 18-21.
The council still has to finalize the vote next week, but it is expected that it will easily pass. The new measure would make the punishment for possession of under one ounce of marijuana for individuals 18-21 a fine of $150. The fine for a second offense would be $500 and each subsequent offense would be punishable by a $999 fine. This fine structure mirrors the one currently in place for individuals age 21 and over prior to Colorado legalizing recreational marijuana.
The logic behind the measure is to give young people a chance to move past their “mistakes” and not have a criminal record due to a decision they made when they were young. City Council member Albus Brooks explained, “This in no way is making it legal for these young people to possess or consume marijuana. What it does do is make it so that these kids don’t have to live into adulthood with mistakes they might have made when they were 19.”