5 weird things Colorado has recently banned

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In January, Colorado pulled in $2.1 million from taxing legalized marijuana. Understandably, the state has become more famous for what it allows than what it’s banned. But Colorado has still had its fair share of unusual bans.

These five bans are relatively recent and were all actually enforced. Though they aren’t all statewide bans, they also aren’t outdated statutes from 1871 or weird laws that resulted from a typo. These bans actually kept people from doing whatever they prohibited.

1. Sidewalk chalk art

Chalk Art

Not so fast, Sally. At least one Colorado community has banned children from scribbling on the sidewalk.

In 2012, CBS News Reported that in Stapleton (a Denver neighborhood), a community association prevented three-year-old Emerson Cohen from drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. According to the association, “anything that offends, disturbs, or interferes with the peaceful enjoyment (sic) isn’t allowed.” And that included sidewalk drawings.

Hopefully, Emerson can at least practice at the nearby Denver Chalk Art Festival.

2. Bicycles


Black Hawk, Colorado is best known for its gambling. But until 2013, when the Colorado Supreme Court overturned the law, it was also known for its bicycle ban.

Black Hawk banned bikes in 2010 and cyclists were issued $68 tickets. Though locals were allowed to bike, if out-of-towners brought their wheels into town, they had to walk them. The tiny town issued the ban to try to stop road bikers from slowing down traffic. However, state law said that cities needed to provide an alternate route or let bikers ride.

Today, you can bike in Black Hawk without worrying about a ticket.

3. Collecting rainwater in a barrel


Until 2009, Coloradans could get in big trouble if they collected the rain that fell off their roof.

If you don’t know the politics behind it, the law sounds absurd. But tight rainwater regulations are common in many Western states that try to squeeze every last drop out of the rainfall. The thinking was that for every privately collected gallon of water, public reserves would suffer. Colorado in particular had some of strictest laws.

However, in 2009, those laws were reduced to allow for some collection (though there are still restrictions in place). Lawmakers grew convinced that the rainwater was either being lost or pumped from the ground, so home-collection was preferable. As one Park Ranger noted, he was finally able to bring his rain barrel out in the open.

4. Raising chickens


Yes, you can grow marijuana in Colorado, but you can’t always raise chickens.

Ironically, the larger Colorado cities are more chicken-friendly than rural areas. Denver allows residents to get a $20 license for eight hens or ducks and two dwarf goats. However, Arapahoe County doesn’t allow chickens, largely due to concerns about coyotes and cleanliness. That means you can grow pot there, but you can’t fill a coop.

5. The silliest bans, including one absurd license plate

Of course, like every state, Colorado has a few bans that are particular exemptions rather than legislative choices. These aren’t laws. But they are frequently absurd.

One young boy wasn’t allowed to wear his Peyton Manning jersey to school because it was associated with gang activity. The school district stuck with the ban even as the Broncos saw their fortunes soar.

A better ban? The woman who wanted to get “ILVTOFU” on her license plate. The problem for the enthusiastic vegan? They read “TO” as a word. Think about it. Maybe some bans are reasonable.

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