Denver Voters Set ‘Lowest Priority’ for Cops: Pot

Denver Voters Set ‘Lowest Priority’ for Cops: Pot
Posted by CN Staff on November 07, 2007 at 09:47:24 PT
By Mike Nizza
Source: New York Times
Denver -- Voters were in a cost-conscious mood this Election Day, rejecting several ballot measures to spend more taxpayer money in new areas, like stem-cell research in New Jersey. In Denver, though, voters weren’t being asked to approve more spending. Instead, a controversial ballot measure simply called on the government to [pdf] readjust its priorities. Here’s the key section:
The Denver Police Department and the City Attorney’s Office shall make the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana offenses, where the marijuana was intended for adult personal use, the City’s lowest law enforcement priority. The measure passed with 55 percent of the vote last night, according to The Denver Post. A similar one was approved in Hailey, Idaho, as well. Together, they join Seattle and Missoula County, Mont., in ordering the police to find something better to do than bust your friendly neighborhood pot smoker. Bruce Mirken of the Marijuana Policy Project was exuding confidence last night in comments to The Post, hailing “an unbroken winning streak” and concluding that “voters around the country don’t want police time and effort wasted on small-time marijuana enforcement.”But the bad news for marijuana advocates begins now that the people have spoken, courtesy of the main backer of the intiative, Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation:WARNING: Do not be fooled by opponents’ claims that this measure cannot be implemented.That appeared at least partly aimed at Sgt. Ernie Martinez of the Denver Police Department, who told The New York Times recently that he “cannot envision ordering his officers to stop arresting people for marijuana.” Unsurprisingly, he doesn’t think much of the Safer group, saying its members “essentially want to promote self-indulgence of marijuana use at the risk of the public.”His department’s reaction to a 2005 vote that legalized marijuana possession of an ounce or less for adults may be a guide. From The Times:The 2005 measure garnered 54 percent approval. But city officials have ignored it, choosing instead to keep enforcing superseding state laws, which stipulate that a marijuana offense of an ounce or less, considered a Class 2 petty offense in Colorado, is punishable by a $100 fine. Misdemeanor marijuana arrests for people over 21 have risen to 1,347 last year, from 1,168 in 2005.During its coverage before the vote, The Post published a searching article concluding that Americans were finding ways to compromise on pot. “People have learned to live with pot, up to a fine point,” the article said. Here are the boundaries they saw:In a growing number of states and large cities, possessing and smoking a little pot is either a minor offense or no crime at all, while growing or distributing the drug still gets you in big trouble.Growing or using pot for medicinal purposes is widely accepted, while police and defense attorneys argue the details of what constitutes therapeutic amounts.Almost no one wants kids to have free access to marijuana, while the stigma of adult use drops to the level of a speeding ticket.Most voters want police to stop arresting the casual pot smoker, but they also don’t yet want the state to sanction a legalized marijuana industry, in the manner of alcohol or tobacco. Over at Freakonomics, several experts have weighed in on the subject. So should you: Do Denver voters have the right idea? Or is the city just one step closer to a United States of Amsterdam?PDF: New York Times (NY)Author:  Mike NizzaPublished: November 7, 2007Copyright: 2007 The New York Times CompanyContact: letters nytimes.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:Marijuana Policy Project Denver Denver Poised To Make Marijuana a Low Priority Hailey Voters Say ‘Yes’ To Marijuana Reforms
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Comment #20 posted by John Tyler on November 08, 2007 at 16:41:57 PT
The people are voting city by city, state by state to correct a great wrong that was committed 70 years ago.
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on November 07, 2007 at 22:44:24 PT
The United States.. Democracy in action.
Wonder if all those countries we are trying to "help" be democracies are aware of all the citizen votes that have been ignored by our government on this matter. I'd never heard of such a thing happening in this country until the medical marijuana vote in Washington D.C. was overturned, with the help of our "friend", Bob Barr. I'd heard, of course, of rigged elections, and dead people voting, voter intimidation, and ballot boxes being stuffed and miscounted and stuff...but I'd never heard of what happened on that grand and glorious day when our congress proved to us just how much the citizen's sanctified and glorified power to vote meant. Now with this, as with some law enforcement in the medical states, as has all too often been the case, we have these wonderful examples of law enforcement and government "of the people, by the people, and for the people", just flat out deciding for themselves that the vote didn't mean a thing.A mighty fine example of democracy and the "will of the people" in action this country is.If Democracy doesn't mean anything are those folks over there supposed to believe it will mean something there? Wherever "there" is. Arrests in Denver actually went up slightly since the citizens "spoke" the last time. Now the democratic reps of the people are going to work to overthrow it again... some more. Ah... American Democracy....everyone wants one just like it."Denver voters told authorities to back off from enforcing marijuana laws for the second time in as many years, passing an initiative to make the drug the "lowest law enforcement priority.""
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Comment #18 posted by Dankhank on November 07, 2007 at 21:36:40 PT
Dutch Medical Marijuana ...
OK'd for five more years ...,2933,309076,00.html
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Comment #17 posted by The GCW on November 07, 2007 at 18:48:01 PT
New word for Me...
-Farmacies-I don't think I've seen this word before.=-=US CA: Column: Regulate Medical Marijuana Farmacies like it.
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on November 07, 2007 at 18:43:49 PT
Comment to #15,
""""The decision of who gets prosecuted is the role of the district attorney," Hickenlooper said, noting that position is independently elected."""Key word is ELECTED!!!!-0-My question is also, is the district attorney a city DA, a county DA, a state DA or what? -Is independently elected, elected by citizens?-0-One direction Mason Tvert may consider is helping get that "elected" DA out of office if He doesn't respect the will of citizens.Target the elected position, like what has been done in the past.And put Him on notice, now.-0-If police continue...-Consider showing how Denver simply doesn't want to give up generating that flow of income.-Those bullies are taking a lot of lunch money.
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Comment #15 posted by FoM on November 07, 2007 at 17:24:08 PT
Pot Advocates Celebrate Vote
They Are Skeptical Of Any Real Changes Steve Saunders, 7NEWS Anchor November 7, 2007Video: -- Backers of a new marijuana initiative won the vote Tuesday, but have doubts about what it means.They fear Denver police will continue to arrest marijuana users and write them tickets that require court appearances.Denver voters told authorities to back off from enforcing marijuana laws for the second time in as many years, passing an initiative to make the drug the "lowest law enforcement priority." 
 The initiative passed easily Tuesday despite protests from city officials who said it was meaningless. It likely sets up a likely court challenge over whether the voter-passed initiative can govern the priorities of police and prosecutors.The vote was the third marijuana initiative sponsored by Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation and its outspoken leader, Mason Tvert. He noted the initiative passed despite opposition from editorials in The Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News as well as from city officials."Everyone said vote 'no' and the people of this city still voted 'yes,"' Tvert said. "I think that sends a clear message that people want change."Tvert and his group successfully pushed a 2005 initiative to legalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana for adults older than 21, but the move failed to blunt arrests because authorities continued to enforce state laws.Tvert tried to pass an identical measure at the state level in 2006 but was rebuffed by statewide voters.He said despite the lack of change after the 2005 vote, this vote will make a difference if city officials follow it."This should change things in Denver," Tvert said. "If the city carries on with marijuana arrests, they are going to be breaking the law."Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper disagreed."The decision of who gets prosecuted is the role of the district attorney," Hickenlooper said, noting that position is independently elected.Hickenlooper told 7NEWS that marijuana is already a low priority issue for Denver police. He has no plans to issue new orders to the police department.A marijuana user in Denver's Civic Center Park told 7NEWS that police regularly arrest and ticket people for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The man who asked that his full name not be used said he was walking on the street when he was stopped and searched by police. He admits he was carrying pot, but said he was not selling or smoking it at the time.The initiative does call for the city to create a community-based panel on marijuana and the mayor said that will be formed.City Council members were so convinced of the measure's irrelevance that when Tvert forced their hand with a petition getting it on the ballot, they considered passing it into law themselves to speed a court challenge.They decided against that plan, however, because it would have put them on record as voting in favor of relaxing marijuana enforcement.Denver election officials said about 8,000 ballots had not yet been counted Wednesday out of some 90,000 cast, but Tvert's initiative was leading by about 8,400 votes. Copyright 2007 by
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on November 07, 2007 at 16:59:51 PT
More Battles Won
Now let's stop the wars. All of them!Hats off to Denver and Hailey! Mason Tvert is on a mission and could make it mandatory for all Denver LEO's to use cannabis before every shift! LOL!!!In other news...Sen. Hagel says U.S. draft may be unavoidable: Fifth Fleet in Gulf exercise for possible war in Iran: WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Former Dallas Cowboy Tells It Like It Is: "I Suspected 9/11 Was A False Flag Attack From The Beginning": Jones interviews former Dallas Cowboy, Mark Stepnoski (mp3): Conference Videos--'9/11: Family Members, First Responders, and Experts Speak Out': For 9/11 Truth: WAS AN INSIDE JOB - OUR NATION IS IN PERIL:
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on November 07, 2007 at 16:26:51 PT
Local Screening of Film on Medical Marijuana
November 7, 2007There will be a screening of a documentary on medical marijuana at Illinois State University this weekend. The film called "Waiting to Inhale" examines the debate over the use of pot for medical reasons. It includes interviews with researchers and patients like Jamie Clayton. He's an AIDS patient from Grafton, Illinois who participated in a study at the University of California.Listen: 
or Download Audio:  
The study Clayton took part in found marijuana to be an effective treatment for the painful side effect of some drugs used to treat HIV/AIDS. The free documentary screening will be on Sunday at 7:00 p.m. in Schroeder Hall. Clayton and the director of the film will hold a panel discussion after the screening.Copyright: 2007 Radio Bloomington - A Regent Communications Company 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on November 07, 2007 at 15:50:16 PT
Sorry, I missed seeing your name before... but welcome anyway.When I saw DCP... I thought, "Denver City Police?":0)
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Comment #11 posted by RevRayGreen on November 07, 2007 at 15:44:38 PT
the DENVER VONERS !!!!!! (voting stoners)I hope all my cousins voted.
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on November 07, 2007 at 15:16:49 PT
Dankhank and DCP
It's good to see you DCP. I recognized your name but wasn't sure if you had posted recently.Dankhank we having over 3,000 hits on one article this month so far. I think there are many people who read but don't comment. It's hard for me to post sometimes when people get angry so I back away and do other things or I try to.
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Comment #9 posted by Dankhank on November 07, 2007 at 15:03:40 PT
around ...
me too of late ...that's OK ... I hope there's lots of lurkin' going on ...
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Comment #8 posted by DCP on November 07, 2007 at 14:47:14 PT
I've been around for some years but mostly I just lurk. I guess that I would rather listen than talk
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Comment #7 posted by Dankhank on November 07, 2007 at 13:49:45 PT
Hi to DCP
thought that was the first time I saw that moniker ...welcome to CNPeace to all who would learn ...
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on November 07, 2007 at 13:40:03 PT
That's so true!And welcome to C-News.
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Comment #5 posted by DCP on November 07, 2007 at 12:53:46 PT
Denver City Council
doesn't seem to realize that the people who voted for this referendum are also the people who vote for (or against) them. If, as in the past, they try to circumvent this ordinence, they will be voted out of office. Prohibitionists and drug warriers don't seem to be able to see the consequences of their actions; I guess the brain doesn't work too well for those who cannot or will not see the truth.
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on November 07, 2007 at 11:53:29 PT
Democrats in action
What do people think of my theory now - that Democrats don't really want to win. Look at this - only Kucinich has any courage or integrity. If I was in CA I'd vote for Cindy Sheehan to replace Pelosi in a heartbeat.On bid to impeach Cheney, touché
House GOP tries to force debate
By Jim Abrams, Associated Press | November 7, 2007WASHINGTON - House Democrats narrowly averted a bruising debate yesterday on a proposal to impeach Dick Cheney after Republicans, in a surprise maneuver, voted in favor of taking up the measure.Republicans, changing course midway through a vote, tried to force Democrats into a debate on the resolution sponsored by presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich.In his resolution, the antiwar Ohio Democrat, in his resolution, accused Cheney of purposely leading the country into war against Iraq and manipulating intelligence about Iraq's ties with Al Qaeda.The GOP tactics reversed what had been expected to be an overwhelming vote to table, or kill, the resolution.Midway through the vote, with instructions from the GOP leadership, Republicans one by one changed their votes from yes - to kill the resolution - to no, trying to force the chamber into a debate and an up-or-down vote on the proposal.At one point there were 290 votes to table. After the turnaround, the final vote was 251 to 162 against tabling, with 165 Republicans voting against it."We're going to help them out, to explain themselves," said Representative Pete Sessions, Republican of Texas. "We're going to give them their day in court."Democrats countered by offering a motion to refer the proposal to the House Judiciary Committee for further study, effectively preventing a debate on the House floor. That motion passed by a largely party-line vote of 218 to 194.Kucinich has long pushed for a vote to impeach Cheney, but has not won the backing of the Democratic leadership. After Kucinich introduced the resolution, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the House majority leader, immediately moved to table it.The White House, in a statement, said Democrats were shirking responsibilities on issues such as children's health insurance "and yet they find time to waste an afternoon on an impeachment vote against the vice president. . . . This is why Americans shake their head in wonder about the priorities of this Congress."House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said "impeachment is off the table." 
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Comment #3 posted by josephlacerenza on November 07, 2007 at 11:29:05 PT
Just Some Good News
I found this earlier today.
Teens Who Smoke Marijuana But Not Tobacco Are Different From Other Teen Groups
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 07, 2007 at 09:50:12 PT
Direct Link To Above Article
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on November 07, 2007 at 09:48:38 PT
Freakonomics Article
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