Denver Direct: Pot Panel to City Attorney: Call Off Your Dogs

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pot Panel to City Attorney: Call Off Your Dogs

(Text below excerpted from a news release from Picture and reference to dogs solely the responsibility of Denver Direct. No animals were harmed in the writing of this post.)

“The panel joins Denver voters in urging city officials to stop prosecuting adults for simple marijuana possession,” said panel chairman Brian Vicente. “The Denver City Attorney’s Office is able to adopt the policy called for by the panel and stop prosecuting these cases at any time, so we certainly hope they will do so.”

Also during Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel meeting, Denver City Attorney Vincent DiCroce announced that the city would be changing its policy so that adults cited for marijuana possession would be able to pay their fines via mail and would no longer be required to appear in court.

“We are glad the city attorney’s office agrees that it is a waste of time and resources for our courts to be worrying about marijuana possession,” said panel member Mason Tvert. “But it is just as big a waste for police to be issuing the citations to begin with.”

“Although this streamlining of the prosecution process is a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough,” Tvert said. “Denver voters have made it clear on multiple occasions that they do not want adults to be cited, fined, or punished in any way for using a less harmful drug than alcohol. Our city should not be using adult marijuana users as ATM machines to take out $100 at a time.”

The panel voted 5-4 in favor of the following recommendation:

The Marijuana Policy Review Panel shall, in its first report issued to the Denver City Council, recommend that in order to implement Denver City Ordinance 38-176 to the greatest extent possible, the office of the Denver City Attorney shall adopt the following policy: The office of the Denver City Attorney shall not seek conviction in a city prosecution for the petty offense of possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for adults 21 and older absent compelling reasons articulated on the record in open court.

(Councilman Doug Linkhart, the only member of City Council on the Panel, voted against the recommendation. An email to Linkhart asking why is as yet unanswered, but will be reported here when an answer is received.)