Denver Goes Up in Smoke

Denver Goes Up in Smoke
Posted by CN Staff on November 09, 2005 at 21:34:18 PT
By Susie Orr 
Source: Central Florida Future
Colorado -- Denver residents gave new meaning to the nickname "Mile High City" last week when they voted on Initiative 100: the decriminalization of marijuana.Passing with 54 percent of the vote, Initiative 100 states that if over the age of 21, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is legal within city limits. However, state and federal laws override, and according to Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, "State law is state law - this is more symbolic. It's not going to have an effect on how we enforce our laws."
Hickenlooper continued to say to the Rocky Mountain News, "It does show that there is a shifting of how people look at marijuana compared to alcohol. We're becoming a younger culture."Mason Tvert, the executive director of the group SAFER (Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation) that put the initiative on the ballot, insists Denver authorities should respect voters' wishes and stop charging anyone under the state law. "This is not just symbolic," he told the Denver Post in response to Hickenlooper's statement. "This is a fact. This city voted to change a city ordinance. We expect the city officials to respect the will of the voters who elected them."Many Colorado officials believe the result of this vote was due to lack of counter-campaigning. Most believed the initiative had no chance of being passed, and did not speak out against it. However, it has been acknowledged that the youth vote greatly influenced the outcome. SAFER is an organization based between two universities: the University of Colorado-Boulder and Colorado State University.On signs and billboards, flyers, online, and in voter forums, Tvert, 23, contended that marijuana was a safe alternative to alcohol. He argued that crime and domestic violence would drop if residents were legally allowed to smoke pot rather than drink a six-pack of beer. He also argued that college campuses would be safer.As a demonstration last month, Tvert placed a mock corpse in a body bag outside Denver's City Hall and surrounded it with jugs from Wynkoop Brewery, owned by Hickenlooper. Next to it, he piled bags of Doritos and Oreos. "It simply shows that the mayor does not mind that his drug of choice that he sells to this city can lead to death and violence and the drug that he opposes simply leads to - as they put it - the worst-case scenario is the munchies," Tvert said. President of UCF's chapter of NORML, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Justin Martineau feels that Denver's new laws are only the beginning of a wave of change. "The American government has tagged the marijuana movement as a fringe, an activity that mainstream America does not want to take part in," Martineau said. "But all of a sudden, you have one of the largest cities in Colorado, which is a Republican state, saying that they don't want responsible marijuana smokers being put in jail."Several states have lessened the penalty of possession of small amounts but still issue fines. Other cities, such as Seattle and Oakland, have passed laws making marijuana possession a low priority for police officers. In Seattle, since 2003, when the low priority initiative was passed, the number of prosecutions for possession has dropped. Seattle city attorney Tom Carr, told the Denver Post opposed the initiative because he feared it would result in increased Marijuana usage. However, he said, that hasn't happened."We've had some silliness," he said. "One man was arrested for trying to sell brownies to a police officer, and someone wanted to host a smoke-in in a park, but for the most part, I haven't seen a drastic increase."In Oakland, police have ignored the initiatives, and continue to arrest those caught with possession of marijuana. Denver officials hope to use Oakland as an example. Denver officials say the majority of drug prosecutions in Denver already are brought under state law, so police will continue to make arrests as usual.Deliberations are still being held in Colorado over the decision to continue to enforce state laws within Denver city limits. However, it is clear that the raging debate over legalization is taking a turn. Source: Central Florida Future (Orlando, FL Edu)Author: Susie Orr Published: November 10, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Central Florida FutureWebsite: : Articles & Web Sites:UCF NORML Safer Choice City Must Enforce State Pot Law a Legalized High, but Sensible Spending Considered 'Murder Weed' in 1937
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on November 10, 2005 at 17:54:46 PT
Damned Kids. NOT!!!
Hickenlooper continued to say to the Rocky Mountain News, "It does show that there is a shifting of how people look at marijuana compared to alcohol. We're becoming a younger culture."Yeah, it must be them damned kids. Have another drink, Hickenpooper!I don't know about Denver but the bulk of America's population is actually aging. The acceptance of cannabis has little to do with age and a lot to do with folks becoming more informed thanks to the internet. 
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Comment #1 posted by siege on November 10, 2005 at 10:28:16 PT
Documents confirm prior knowledge of threats
By Tamara Pratt
News 9New documents released by a federal judge in Utah appear to show the government had knowledge of prior threats to bomb federal buildings and that was before the Murrah building bombing downtown.
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