Pot Arrests Up Despite Initiatives, Group Says

Pot Arrests Up Despite Initiatives, Group Says
Posted by CN Staff on March 05, 2008 at 06:16:00 PT
By Tillie Fong, Rocky Mountain News 
Source: Rocky Mountain News 
Colorado -- Citations and arrests for minor possession of marijuana continue to rise in Denver, even though voters have passed two initiatives to reduce such enforcement, a group says."More and more people want the police and prosecutors to stop, but they're citing and prosecuting more and more people," said Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation.
Tvert said that statistics he obtained from the Denver police's civil liability bureau show that the number of misdemeanor marijuana arrests has increased by almost 18 percent from 2006 to 2007.Tvert said that arrests of adults age 22 and older were: 1,059 in 2004; 1,168 in 2005; 1,347 in 2006; and 1,587 in 2007.If last year's figures are compared with those of 2005, the numbers show a 36 percent jump, he said. Compared with 2004, there has been a 50 percent increase, he said.Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said he had not seen the numbers that Tvert was using and could not comment on their accuracy or meaning."Were (those arrested) in violation of the law?" he said. "The Denver police, regardless of high priority or low priority, are in charge of enforcing the law on the books."Jackson noted that minor marijuana possession is a crime under state law.Tvert is a member of the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, which meets at 3:30 p.m. today in the law library of the City and County Building.Denver voters passed a measure in 2005 that would remove the penalties for an adult possessing less than an ounce of marijuana. Last year, voters passed an initiative to make misdemeanor marijuana possession the "lowest law enforcement priority."Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)Author: Tillie Fong, Rocky Mountain News Published: Wednesday, March 5, 2008 Copyright: 2008 Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters rockymountainnews.comWebsite: Choice -- Cannabis Archives
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