Denver Direct: Denver Mayor’s Panel Calls on Police to Halt Marijuana Enforcement During 2008 DNC

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Denver Mayor’s Panel Calls on Police to Halt Marijuana Enforcement During 2008 DNC

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DENVER — A city panel appointed by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has officially recommended that the Denver Police Dept. “refrain from arresting, detaining, or issuing a citation” to any adult for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana during the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver next week. (See full recommendation and PDF of memo below.)

The panel’s recommendation comes in response to news reports in which a spokesman for the Denver Police Dept. said police would be arresting or citing adults for marijuana possession despite ballot measures approved by Denver voters calling on them to refrain from doing so. In 2005, Denver voters approved a ballot measure making possession of small amounts of marijuana legal for adults, and in 2007, voters approved a measure designating adult marijuana possession Denver’s “lowest law enforcement priority.”

“The People of Denver have made it clear they do not want adults in this city punished for simply possessing a drug less harmful than alcohol,”said panel member Mason Tvert, who led the campaigns for the two ballot measures. “Now a panel appointed by the Mayor of Denver has echoed that call, and we hope police will not defy the people of this city or its mayor when the international spotlight hits the Mile High City next week.

“Tomorrow we will deliver an official memo from the panel to the chief of police and the mayor, and we expect police to abide by this very logical recommendation,” Tvert said. “If police expect the taxpayers to cover their $1.2 million in overtime during the DNC, it is only fair that they respect the laws adopted by those taxpayers. There will be plenty for police to do during the DNC aside from arresting or citing adults who are simply making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol.”