Whether it’s old laws that don’t quite fit into our modern world or current ones that look absurd outside of localized and historical contexts, America is brimming with odd laws, and Colorado is no exception. Whether you’re curious if you’ve ever inadvertently violated any of Colorado’s weird laws or merely have an affinity for legal wackiness, here are some strange Colorado laws for your reading pleasure.
Colorado’s Craziest Laws
Every state in the country has some unique laws that don’t make much sense to anybody. Colorado has its fair share of weird rules, some state-wide, some local to a city. Take the following laws with a grain of salt, as they are truly bizarre.
Here are some of the most random and unique laws in Colorado, in no particular order:
1. Tall dandelions and other weeds are banned in Pueblo
Pueblo might be the Home of Heroes, but no matter how much valor local residents have displayed during their lifetimes, they’re not legally permitted to keep dandelions on their property taller than ten inches. Other weedy culprits include bindweed, leafy spurge, Canada thistle, and Russian knapweed. It’s interesting to think about Pueblo’s police officers studying up on botany to help them weed out offenders.
2. In Boulder, it’s permitted to “insult, taunt, or challenge” police officers––until they ask you to stop
Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. It’s a bad, bad idea to verbally assault officers no matter where you are, even if it’s Boulder. But that doesn’t change the fact that the specific language of the city of Boulder’s “Fighting Words” ordinance clearly states that it’s perfectly legal to until the police officer “requests the person to cease and discontinue the conduct.” My advice––please take it––is to not test whether this law will stand up in a real life encounter. But for those reckless enough to try, the chances of Boulder’s police officers finding things to arrest you for are surely bound to increase.
3. Want to buy a car on a Sunday in Colorado? You’re out of luck
For some reason, Colorado doesn’t permit the sales of automobiles on Sundays. However, if you’re in the market for tires or other car accessories, those are perfectly legal to purchase on Sundays. The law strictly applies to dealerships, but also applies to “premises or residences.” It’s hard to tell how this law benefits Colorado’s citizens or the state’s automotive industry, but it’s the law of the land.
4. You can’t drink and ride a horse at the same time in Boulder
And now for a Boulder law that makes sense. In the posh front range city, horses are considered “non-motorized vehicles,” and you’re not legally permitted to saddle up on one and drink. It’s safe to assume this law was written to protect riders, horses, and the general public. The law was put to the test in 2013 when Boulder Police arrested an intoxicated horse-rider for “stumbling into Boulder traffic.” While some of the laws highlighted here don’t seem to benefit the public, ones like this are aimed at protecting animals and people from the stupidity of reckless residents.
5. Vail’s anti-junk law
Vail is heavily invested in keeping their ski town posh and beautiful, and it uses legal mechanisms like its junk law to do it. Any material classified as “junk” is not allowed to be stored next to public buildings or private residences. A potential issue with the law is the fact that what’s considered artful, sentimental, or useful to one resident can be thought of as a junky nuisance to another. Outdoor art installations come to mind. How Vail’s junk law gets enforced is probably heavily leaned in favor of residents who maintain conventionally clean and clutter-free properties and businesses.
6. Public use of catapults, blowguns, slingshots, and the throwing of snowballs are unlawful in Aspen
If you’re planning on moving to Aspen and building some sort of medieval catapult, you might want to reconsider. When you’re in the town of Aspen, it’s illegal to launch things at a person or property through not only catapults, but also slingshots, blowguns, and good ol’ fashioned snowball fights. The catapult mention makes this law seem a little obscure, but it’s essentially designed to keep things from being launched at local residents and visitors. Even so, it’s interesting to think about an obscure catapult snowball battle that happened in Aspen’s past led to this legislation.
7. You can’t “project” missiles at cars in Alamosa
Before you get too excited about this one, consider the fact the definition of a missile is “an object which is forcibly propelled at a target, either by hand or from a mechanical weapon.” Essentially, this law falls under the category of being completely necessary but strangely worded since it’s illegal virtually everywhere to throw or shoot things at moving vehicles.
8. Logan County prohibits kissing sleeping women
Home of an especially desolate stretch of 1-76 and some of Colorado’s sparsest populated communities, Logan County has an odd law on its books worthy of being on this list. If a woman is asleep, it’s illegal to kiss her. This begs the question of how many local couples knowingly or unwittingly break this law on a weekly basis. Why and how this ever became a law isn’t clear, but what is clear is the fact that it’s impossible to enforce in almost every instance.
Don’t Believe Everything you Read
The internet reports a lot of wacky laws in Colorado that aren’t all true. The aforementioned laws are true to the best of our research. Have you heard of either of these two strange laws…
Is it really illegal lend your vacuum to your neighbor or drive a black car on Sunday in Denver?
Letting your next door neighbor borrow your vacuum in Colorado won’t get you into any legal trouble, though many on the internet say otherwise. According to a 2019 article in OZY about Colorado’s strange laws, plenty of fictions have sprung up over the years surrounding odd legality in the state, and this is one of them.
In the article, Marley Bordovsky, director of Prosecution and Code Enforcement for the city of Denver, called rumors of the vacuum law a myth that “seems to have a life of its own on the internet.” Other faux strange Colorado laws making their rounds on the internet include one stating that residents can’t own chickens in the city of Louisville (you can have up to six hens), and the illegality of driving a black car in Denver on Sundays. Fake strange laws are written about either because they’ve been interpreted incorrectly or out of a desire to create stories where they don’t actually exist.