City Council members in Federal Heights, Colo. have decided to lower the municipal fine for marijuana possession from $1,000 to $500 for possession of one ounce or less of the drug, the Denver Post reported Jan. 12. Jail sentences for minor marijuana possession also were eliminated.
Council members said they wanted to limit the financial burden associated with prosecuting minor drug offenders, though city officials said they are not encouraging elimination of marijuana laws. “I believe we felt it was time to get the punishment more in line with the infraction,” added council member Dale Sparks.
The council followed the suggestions of the city prosecutor to better align local laws with state laws, as other Colorado cities have done. State law puts the fine for such an offense at $100.
Mayor Pro Tem Richard Steele backed the decision. “I can’t see hitting somebody up for $1,000 and jail for 30 days,” Steele said, adding that the original fine was “too harsh.”