Pot Amendment Lights Up House

Pot Amendment Lights Up House
Posted by CN Staff on January 30, 2006 at 07:41:23 PT
By Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News 
Source: Rocky Mountain News 
Colorado -- Here's what happens when lawmakers don't pay attention: An amendment making it easier for Denver pot smokers to escape prosecution slips into a bill. That's what happened Friday in the Colorado House. Lawmakers later killed the amendment, but the event did provide for some hilarity as well as pointed comments about what is perceived to be Denver's hypocrisy when its come to following state laws.
Denver voters last November invalidated a city law that made it illegal for adults to privately possess less than 1 ounce of marijuana. Denver police, calling the vote mostly symbolic, said they still would make arrests and charge pot offenders under state law. On Friday, lawmakers were debating a bill about police officer certification when Rep. Paul Weissmann, D-Louisville, amended it to keep authorities in cities where drug exemptions have been passed from prosecuting offenders under state law. "If their citizens say it's legal, then the state ought to back off," he said. His amendment passed, in part, because the bill was so routine that lawmakers were paying more attention to other matters. The House later voted 59-6 to remove the provision. Rep. Debbie Stafford, R-Aurora, supported the amendment because she is frustrated that Denver went to court to overturn her 2004 measure outlawing cities from banning certain breeds of dogs. Denver resumed its pit bull ban after a judge upheld the city's home-rule authority to set its own animal-control policies. She said Denver routinely snubs its nose at state measures by claiming it is a home-rule city. "They want their cake and they want to eat it, too," she said. Rep. Richard Decker, R-Fountain, got a big laugh when he facetiously asked whether Coloradans would be able to toke up at restaurants, bars and casinos if the amendment passed and a separate smoking ban bill was approved.Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)Author: Lynn Bartels, Rocky Mountain News Published: January 30, 2006Copyright: 2006 Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters rockymountainnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Safer Choice Colorado Initiative Next Step for Marijuana Backers Time Has Come To Legalize Marijuana
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