420 Magazine Background

Denver Puts Pot Busts On Cops' Back Burner

Smokin Moose

Fallen Cannabis Warrior
Denver Initiated Question 100 ( Marijuana law enforcement ):

* Yes 55.5%

No 44.5%

More than half of Denver voters favored an initiative making marijuana the city's lowest law enforcement priority.

With just a handful of ballots left to count, the measure had captured 55 percent of the vote. The result means the mayor must appoint a panel to monitor how marijuana cases are handled by the police and city prosecutors and issue a report. "It appears as if it is going to pass, and it shows there is a wealth of support around the city," said Mason Tvert, campaign director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, the group behind the initiative.

Tvert says the measure was motivated by what he says are overzealous police who continue to cite adults for possessing under an ounce of marijuana despite a law that allows simple pot possession in Denver.

Denver police and prosecutors say possessing marijuana still violates state and federal laws.

A spokeswoman for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has said that enforcement of laws governing small amounts of marijuana is already a low priority.

Similar initiatives passed in Seattle in 2003 and in Missoula, Mont. last year.

Seattle's marijuana panel reported that marijuana prosecutions and arrests are down, but Seattle's city attorney says the group cannot agree whether the initiative caused the drop.

In Missoula, the city attorney has told prosecutors in his office not to pursue simple marijuana possession cases involving adults.

"These sorts of measures in cities and towns across the country have an unbroken winning streak, and it's looking like that streak is continuing, and that's a sign that voters around the country don't want police time and effort wasted on small-time marijuana enforcement," said Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Washington D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, a group that contributed $30,000 to SAFER.

Last year, SAFER pushed for an initiative that would legalize possessing small amounts of pot statewide, but it did not pass.

Source: Denver Post (CO)
Copyright: 2007 The Denver Post Corp
Contact: openforum@denverpost.com
Website: The Denver Post - Colorado's home-page for breaking news, weather, sports, local events and entertainment
Top Bottom