No Pot Arrests in Denver During the Convention?

In 2005 Denver voters approved an initiative that repealed local penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. But police ignored the initiative, continuing to arrest pot smokers for violating state law. In November voters approved another initiative, instructing city officials to make minor pot possession cases their "lowest law enforcement priority." Not surprisingly, it looks like police are ignoring the will of the people again. Yesterday drug policy reformer Mason Tvert, who led the campaigns for both initiatives, told a panel charged with implementing the new law that marijuana arrests in Denver, which totaled 1,600 last year, are on pace to hit 1,900 this year, without taking into account a surge that's likely to accompany the Democratic National Convention, which begins on Monday. "After the Democratic National Convention ends, there will be hundreds of marijuana cases all showing up at the same time," Tvert said. That's if police ignore a resolution, approved by the panel yesterday, urging them to refrain from arresting or citing pot smokers during the convention. According to A.P., "city officials say the resolution is not binding."

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  • Harry Anslinger||

    This is outrageous!

    If the darkies are permitted to think they are as good as white men, for even a week, the fabric of society will collapse!

  • ||

    I'm a bit unclear on how the police get to just ignore voter initiatives.

    Oh wait, I forgot, they don't have to listen to the peasants.

  • ktc2||

    LOL. It's amazing how fast "The law is the law!" disappears when "the law" doesn't support what the clergyman with clubs and guns want to do.

  • Drew||

    Think of the children. Come on people, the government knows best,,,

  • Elemenope||

    ktc2 --

    That is the crux of the thing.

  • Nigel Watt||

    So...get out the firehammer.

  • ||

    The initiative is a binding as the mayor and city council want it to be. The police can get away with this because the elected officials aren't doing their job of representing the public.

  • ||

    The will of the people is paramount. Except when it isn't. Because the people are actually quite stupid, and the government must protect them from themselves.

  • Elemenope||

    The will of the people is paramount. Except when it isn't. Because the people are actually quite stupid, and the government must protect them from themselves.

    It's funny how a statement can be completely true and utterly false all at the same time.

  • ||

    If the government is for anything, it is to protect people from other people--not from themselves.

  • ||

    The Court has made their decree. Now let them enforce it.

    "Do what I say."

    "What are you going to do to me if I don't?"

  • ||

    The funny part is that you can practically get high just by driving into Denver. That place is filled with so many crunchy types that I'm surprised that the police are so hardcore there.

  • ||

    That place is filled with so many crunchy types that I'm surprised that the police are so hardcore there.

    The cops love to get hardcore on soft targets; it enhances their feeling of ToughGuyPower.

  • Elemenope||

    Epi --

    The "themselves" in that sentence can be read as a sloppy sort of collective reflex noun. Or it can be read the way you read it.

    Ah, English amphibology.

  • ||

    Maybe we could only arrest people under 21 for marijuana.

    Because if The Children who are 18 or 19 can get it, then The Children who are 16 will be able to get it and we cannot allow such a thing to stand.

    Maybe we need more laws and better enforcement of them?

  • ||

    I first tried pot in Denver, then Boulder, then Miami, then San Juan (PR), then Caracas (it seems I'm working my way down south)... I hope to find my way to Amsterdam. :)

  • ||

    Maybe we need more laws and better enforcement of them?

    With a campaign slogan like that, you can rise fast in either party.

  • ||

    That's if police ignore a resolution, approved by the panel yesterday, urging them to refrain from arresting or citing pot smokers during the convention.

    Why just during the convention? Why should Dem activists and hangers-on get special treatment?

  • ||

    Why should Dem activists and hangers-on get special treatment?

    You've obviously never been to Denver.

  • Thomas Paine\'s Goiter||

    I wonder if city officials would ignore a resolution making stamping out drugs their highest priority?

  • ||

    Cops Gone Wild!

    Seriously, if the Mayor & friends tried to discipline any cops for overzealous drug-law enforcement, the police union would be all over them.

    Perhaps public employee unions (cops and prison guards) are one of the big secret villains in the drug war.

  • ||

    Damn, Jacob! The way you're talking it's as if you think the police are in some way answerable to the public.

  • ||

    Why should Dem activists and hangers-on get special treatment?

    I wouldn't be surprised if Hickenlooper is angling for a cushy cabinet position out of this.

  • Dagny T.||

    I wonder if city officials would ignore a resolution making stamping out drugs their highest priority?

    Hell no. Who would you rather deal with at work: real criminals, or mellow dudes with the munchies?

    Won't somebody think of the cops' right to a pleasant work environment?

  • ||

    Sounds like we need a "special episode" of the Democratic convention where Hillary catches Barack in the alley with a bong, which isn't his. Hilarity ensues, with a special message, for the children.

  • ||

    So a local city can override state law? Of course not. The cops are right in this case.

  • ||

    So a local city can override state law? Of course not. The cops are right in this case.

    Depends on the state. NYC does it all the time.

  • ||

    So a local city can override state law? Of course not. The cops are right in this case.

    The City, not the State, sets priorities for its police. In this case, the cops have told their nominal bosses to go fuck themselves.

    The traditional result of employees telling their bosses to go fuck themselves is pink slips. Why are no cops being fired over this? See ChrisO @ 12:15.

  • Champmaniac||

    It's not hard to make a logical case for allowing people to smoke pot, but only if you disregard the practical effects of letting them do something that many of them are not mature enough to handle.

  • ||

    Why are no cops being fired over this?

    Ask Mayor Calvo.

    Maybe the Denver poobahs are averse to having mysterious packages arrive on their front porches, followed shortly thereafter by the doggie death squad.

  • ||

    so... is this Denver city referendum thing different from california state law, where resolutions/ballot measures become laws which are just as 'valid' and 'enforceable' (i.e, they're not "non-binding senate resolution #1111" type deals) as regular laws passed by the legislature? does anyone know why the city officials feel free to so flagrantly flout these results?

    yes, because they're power-drunk fascists, drug warrior reasons, maybe federal money drug war reasons, etc etc, but really, since in that community weed isn't looked down upon as evil and 'gateway,' obviously since a ballot measure banning cops from prosecuting people for having a bit of it passed twice, how do they feel so secure ignoring it, what is their official justification?

  • ||

    The Democrat Party is every bit as fascist as the Republicans when it comes to drugs. Clinton fired his Surgeon General for daring to suggest considering studying decriminalization. A Democrat controlled congress refuses to take up the issue of medical marijuana. The Democrat nominee-apparent, along with eight of his former rivals, kept nearly silent on the issue. When they did speak of it they murmered and fidgeted and uttered some barely audible mumblings.

    So why does the Democrat Party have the reputation of being the champion of individual rights when it comes to the ingestion of substances? Only because the Democrat Party is full of hypocrits. "Pot for me, not for thee" is their motto. This is the party of MADD after all. It's okay for San Francisco Democrats so smoke marijuana, but they're embarassed that legal pot clinics deface their city and so they zone and regulate them out of existance.

    The Democrat Party will never work to legalize pot, because then pot will not be edgy, and they'll have to take take something stronger to make them feel properly anti-establishment.

  • ||

    Remember folks, If there is a law on the books that outlaws pot, a cop has a 4th amendment right to arrest you regardless of what the state says, so Scalia sez.

    SCOUTS has upheld people being arrested for traffic offenses. So your kidding yourself if you believe decriminalization or lowering priority can prevent arrests. The only way to prevent arrests is to legalize. Good luck with that one.

  • Ayn R. Key||

    There are ways to make voter initiatives like this enforcable, but you need a good lawyer to word it very strongly. The essense is tho put crimes in at least two categories and to forbid the police from working on anything in a lower category until everything in a higher category is solved.

  • ||

    Probably the city law does not trump state law, but the voters can solve the problem by having the city politicians fire cops until they get some who understand where their paychecks are coming from.

    And if the city council won't do this, it is time for a new city council. Activists should switch from pushing the initiatives to running for city office.

  • ||

    You people are so funny. If only you could see yourselves from outside your marijuana haze.

    Oh yeah, and fire the police for enforcing the law. hahahahahahaha

  • ||

    "You people are so funny. If only you could see yourselves from outside your marijuana haze."

    Well, considering it was allegedly sober people who outlawed pot because it made blacks disrespectful to whites and because Mexicans smoked it, opposition to anti-pot laws are reasonable. If the choice is trusting a pothead or someone who thinks Reefer Madness is a documentary, or that you will grow tits if you smoke pot, I'll take the pothead every time.

    The direction of rank and file cops comes from their Chief of Police. That's who should be gone after.

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