Telluride Considering 'Sensible' Pot Ordinance

Telluride Considering 'Sensible' Pot Ordinance
Posted by CN Staff on July 18, 2005 at 06:57:29 PT
By Ellen Miller, Special to the News
Source: Rocky Mountain News
Colorado -- Telluride voters soon may decide whether enforcement of marijuana possession laws against adults should be the town's "lowest law enforcement priority." A group of citizens has petitioned the town board to make possession of marijuana for "adult personal use" a low priority and to "make a statement to state government to tax and regulate it rather than prosecute it," said Ernest Eich, one of the chief backers.
He also said a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that state medical marijuana laws can be trumped by federal law "essentially held that states can't enforce laws discriminating" in this case users of marijuana for medical reasons. "Medical marijuana is supported by a majority of the public," he said. The Telluride ordinance would not discourage busting juveniles for pot, nor would it legalize selling it. Seventh Judicial District Attorney Tom Raynes, whose sprawling district covers six counties including San Miguel, said the proposed ordinance "sounds like it's just making a statement. "In Colorado now, possession is a petty offense for a joint, a small amount or paraphernalia." And current law isn't enforced much anyway, Raynes said, provided the small amount of marijuana is the only potential offense against a person. "I'd say 90 percent of what we do get comes from a DUI or bar fight, resulting from a search. And they're only petty offenses," he said. Eich, however, said that conviction of a petty offense concerning marijuana "has federal ramifications, like you can't get student loans, and many jobs where there's a background check." If the ordinance is approved, Telluride would join Seattle and other cities in enacting "sensible marijuana laws," said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws. "It started back in the '70s in places with flagship universities, like Berkeley and Madison. It's spreading to ski towns. In other places, small amounts aren't prosecuted by custom and tradition." In September 2003 Seattle voters passed Initiative 75, requiring police and prosecutors to treat possession of small amounts as their lowest priority. He also said that "given Colorado statutes, it's redundant in a way for a Colorado town to do anything more formal" other than to join other American communities in the "sensible" movement on marijuana. Chief Marshal Mary Heller takes no position on the proposed ordinance. "We're sworn to enforce the ordinances that the community possesses," Heller said. "We'll have to assess it if it goes through, and the outcome will give us community input, which is very important to us." The Town Council could adopt the petition as written, or it could send it to the voters in the town's next election Nov. 1, Town Clerk M.J. Schillaci said Friday. Telluride by the numbers: A group of citizens has asked the Telluride town board to make adult pot possession a low enforcement priority. The area's demographics:  Median age  31  White  93%  Black  0.4%  Hispanic  7%  College graduates  59%  Own home  36%  Rental  64%  Median home price  $567,000Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)Author:  Ellen Miller, Special to the NewsPublished: July 18, 2005Copyright: 2005 Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters rockymountainnews.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Colorado City, USA - Boulder Weekly Pot Push Bypasses Aspen for Telluride
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Comment #1 posted by The GCW on August 01, 2005 at 01:53:26 PT
God-given plant I was pleased to read the progress Telluride is making toward re-legalizing cannabis ("Telluride considering 'sensible' pot ordinance," July 18). All of Colorado should end the practice of caging humans for using the plant cannabis. It's uncivilized, irrational, biblically sinful and pathetic to cage humans for using it. It's time to stop the persecution of this God-given plant and its users. Stan White 
DillonViewed at:,1299,DRMN_38_3968047,00.html
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