Denver Direct: Linkhart Responds to Pot Panel Question

Monday, June 2, 2008

Linkhart Responds to Pot Panel Question

In an earlier post, I reported that Councilman Doug Linkhart had voted against the recommendation of the Pot Panel (Marijuana Policy Review Panel) – “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.” I found his “no” vote to be surprising given my opinion that Linkhart is the most thoughtful member of City Council and, I think, the only elected official on this Panel. I thought he must have had a good reason to vote “no”.

My email to Linkhart:

Dear Sir:

Do you have any comments for publication regarding your vote yesterday against the recommendation of the Panel?

And his prompt reply:

Sure. Here are my thoughts:

I support legalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana, and was one of only a few elected leaders who supported both the city and state initiatives on this issue. I also support reducing the penalties and hassles for simple possession, which the City is doing. Very soon Denver police will simply issue tickets rather than requiring individuals to appear in court.

The resolution considered by the Marijuana Review Panel last week required that, if someone receiving a ticket for marijuana possession pleads not guilty, the City Attorney must drop the case unless he can prove a compelling reason to continue. There is no other city or state violation for which this has ever been mandated and this is something that I can not support. Nor is it something that the Review Panel or City Council can legislate. We should focus instead on reducing the number of citations issued by the Police Department in the first place, something that the Review Panel is examining.

Doug Linkhart
Councilman at-Large

You know, I think I understand what he is saying. First of all, note that he clearly states that he is for the legalization of possession of small amounts. Then, let’s go for the cessation of this stupid “ticket” nonsense altogether, rather than a backhanded way of getting them dropped. Makes sense to me.

(And let me thank Linkhart for being a very responsive elected official, in the At-Large position on City Council, thereby serving those of us who feel that our District Councilperson is asleep at the wheel. If you want evidence of this, check out and sign up for Linkhart’s eLink newsletter, and compare it to Carla Madison’s blank email newsletter, promised over a year ago.)