Denver Pot Issue Passes By Thin Margin

  Denver Pot Issue Passes By Thin Margin

Posted by CN Staff on November 02, 2005 at 07:11:47 PT
By Christopher N. Osher, Denver Post Staff Writer  
Source: Denver Post 

Colorado -- Denver residents Tuesday voted to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, but the state attorney general said the vote was irrelevant because state law will still be enforced. The measure passed 54 percent to 46 percent. "It just goes to show the voters of Denver are fed up with a law that prohibits adults from making a rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol," said Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER.
The measure will change the city's ordinance to make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in the city. Denver follows the city of Oakland, which last year voted to make marijuana possession its lowest enforcement priority and required the city to develop a plan for licensing and taxing the sale, use and cultivation of marijuana for private use. Voters in Telluride Tuesday defeated a similar measure. Denver is "the second major city in less than a year to pass a vote which says that marijuana should be treated essentially like alcohol, taxed and regulated," said Bruce Mirken, the director of communications for the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, one of the largest groups opposing jail time for the use of pot. "This has been characterized as a fringe issue, and clearly it's not." Even though voters approved Initiative 100, Denver police still will bring charges under state law, which carries a fine of up to $100 and a mandatory $100 drug-offender surcharge for possession of small amounts of marijuana, said Attorney General John Suthers. "I have found these efforts to be unconstructive," Suthers said. Snipped:Complete Article: Denver Post (CO)Author: Christopher N. Osher, Denver Post Staff Writer Published: November 2, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Denver Post CorpWebsite: openforum Related Articles & Web Site:Safer Choice Measure Wafts To Victory Measure Stirs Controversy Advocacy Campaign Promises a Safer Denver

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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 07, 2005 at 07:34:03 PT

Denver Post: Published Letters To The Editor
Passage of Marijuana Law in Denver November 7, 2005Congratulations to Denver voters for absolutely stubbing their collective toes on this one. The marijuana initiative passed. Where do I possibly begin? In the first instance, the rationale of this "law" begs credulity. According to Mason Tvert, head of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, marijuana is not as bad as alcohol, so it should be legal. Ha! That's brilliant. Why not legalize petty larceny because it's not as bad as grand larceny? Is a stoned driver safer than a drunk one? But that's just the small stuff. The big picture here is the message the initiative and the vote sent to kids. My 13- and 12-year-old boys finished the DARE program in school in sixth grade. Both of them benefitted from the program. My youngest even won an award for writing an essay on the evils of drug, cigarette and alcohol use and abuse. What should I tell them now? That marijuana "isn't that bad" so it's legal now? Should I undermine the entire message of DARE (which our tax dollars fund) and give the SAFER sophistry about how it's better to get stoned than drunk? I think I just fell down the rabbit hole. Michael Kranitz, Lone Tree ... I couldn't agree more with Attorney General John Suthers when he said, "I understand the debate about legalization and whether our drug laws are constructive. But I wish we would have a full- out debate instead of these peripheral issues that accomplish just about nothing." We need that "full-out debate" because marijuana is truly safe to legalize. Decades of misinformation have done a number on us all, and it's time we look for ways to correct our shameful laws - laws that do nothing but force decent citizens to enrich the crooked justice system. Good for Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation for bringing this matter to the nation's attention. The sooner we get to the truth about marijuana, the better. Melanie Marshall, Leavenworth, Kan. ... I was amused at The Post's headline announcing that the Denver marijuana legalization initiative passed by a "thin margin," despite the fact that it passed by a significantly larger margin than Referendum C did. Marijuana has never killed anyone, yet we fill our prisons with those who use it. Alcohol kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, but remains legal. A majority of the voters in Denver understand that this is an insane double standard. There are many studies that demonstrate that alcohol is linked to domestic violence, while marijuana is not. SAFER's campaign was honest and brought important facts to the public. Thank you, SAFER, for struggling against the decades-long misinformation campaign that our government has waged against marijuana. Devin Nordberg, Boulder
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Comment #6 posted by mayan on November 02, 2005 at 16:19:14 PT

Full-Out Debate 
"I have found these efforts to be unconstructive," Suthers said. "I understand the debate about legalization and whether our drug laws are constructive. But I wish we would have a full-out debate instead of these peripheral issues that accomplish just about nothing," he said.A full-out debate? That's just what we've always wanted but the prohibitionists keep dodging us! And if anything is "unconstructive" it is cannabis prohibition! 
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Comment #5 posted by charmed quark on November 02, 2005 at 14:56:17 PT

Thin margin?
In the last presidential election, those numbers were called a landslide by Bush!
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Comment #4 posted by schmeff on November 02, 2005 at 11:49:15 PT

I have found these efforts to be unconstructive
Voters expressing their will through the democratic process is unconstructive?Sounds like AG Suthers' efforts might cause him to soon be unemployed.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 02, 2005 at 10:40:06 PT

Press Release from NORML
Denver Votes To Abolish Pot Penalties***November 2, 2005 Denver, CO: Denver voters yesterday approved a city-wide measure to eliminate all civil and criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana by citizens age 21 and older.Fifty-four percent of voters decided in favor of I-100: the Alcohol-Marijuana Equalization Initiative. Campaign proponents, SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation), argued that local laws should treat the private adult use and possession of marijuana in a manner similar to the private adult use and possession of alcohol, and that its use by adults should not be subject to criminal penalties."While cannabis is not harmless, its potential risks to the user and to society do not warrant the blanket imposition of criminal prohibition any more than alcohol's relative risks justify re-instituting alcohol prohibition," said NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre. "Yesterday's vote illustrates that most Americans do not support arresting 750,000 Americans a year for minor marijuana offenses, and that they would prefer that society address cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol."Last fall, voters in Oakland, California approved a similar ballot initiative that sought to "tax and regulate the sale of cannabis for adult use."Next week, voters in Ferndale, Michigan will decide on Proposal D, which seeks to "exempt" patients from local criminal penalties if they use medical cannabis under a physician's supervision. Traverse City, Michigan voters will decide on Proposal 3, which would require police to make the prosecution of medical cannabis patients the town's "lowest law enforcement priority."A Telluride, Colorado municipal proposal (Question 200) that sought to make "the investigation, arrest, and prosecution of marijuana offenses ... the town's lowest law enforcement priority" failed yesterday by 24 votes.For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, or Paul Armentano, NORML Senior Policy Analyst, at (202) 483-5500.
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Comment #2 posted by siege on November 02, 2005 at 08:29:35 PT

"I have found these efforts to be unconstructive," Suthers said. I wonder how many lawsuits will have to be done, before the predator's of Denver, officials wake up, When there city is bankrupted by Civil Suit...
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 02, 2005 at 08:00:54 PT

Press Release from The Marijuana Policy Project
Denver Votes To End Marijuana ProhibitionCity is Largest U.S. Jurisdiction to Endorse End to Ban on MarijuanaNovember 1, 2005DENVER, COLORADO—In a vote expected to reverberate nationwide, Denver today became the second major U.S. city in less than a year to pass a measure aimed at replacing marijuana prohibition with policies designed to treat marijuana in a manner comparable to alcohol, passing I-100 by a margin of 53 percent to 47 percent, with 83 percent of precincts reporting. A similar measure won by a wide margin in Oakland, California, in November 2004.I-100 makes possession of less than one ounce of marijuana non-punishable under Denver city ordinances. The I-100 campaign, organized by Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), built its effort around the large volume of scientific evidence indicating that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol, America's most commonly used recreational drug. The initiative's language puts the city on record in support of treating private, adult use and possession of marijuana "in the same manner as the private use and possession of alcohol."A few years from now, this vote may well be seen as the proverbial 'tipping point,' the beginning of the end of marijuana prohibition in the U.S.," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "Replacing the failed policy of prohibition with common-sense taxation and regulation of marijuana has become a thoroughly mainstream issue, with the voters of two major U.S. cities endorsing such an approach within one year. Even the Denver Post, which opposed I-100, said in its editorial, 'We think it probably would be preferable for the state and federal governments to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana use.'"Last year, there were more than three-quarters of a million marijuana arrests, an all-time record," Kampia added. "That's equivalent to arresting every man, woman, and child in the state of Wyoming plus every man, woman, and child in St. Paul, Minnesota. The public understands that this simply makes no sense. Regulating marijuana will take money out of the pockets of criminals and free police to go after violent crime, and the voters of Denver took their first step in that direction today."With more than 18,000 members and 120,000 e-mail subscribers nationwide, the Marijuana Policy Project is the largest marijuana policy reform organization in the United States. MPP works to minimize the harm associated with marijuana—both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment. For more information, please visit http://www.MarijuanaPolicy.org

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