Drug Policy

Pols Plan to Preclude Pot Poll


A couple of years ago, Denverites approved an initiative that eliminated local penalties for adults 21 or older possessing up to an ounce of marijuana. But since city police continued to charge pot smokers under state law, the vote had no practical effect. A new initiative would tell Denver police to make pot possession their "lowest law-enforcement priority." Since busting potheads is not a very high priority to begin with, and since local authorities already have resisted the people's will in this area with impunity, this measure too seems purely symbolic. Yet Denver Post columnist David Harsanyi reports that the Denver City Council is nevertheless determined to defeat it. Among the options under consideration: The council could facilitate a legal challenge to the initiative by approving it, thereby forestalling a popular vote; or the council could simply refuse to put the initiative on the ballot, even though its supporters have collected the requisite number of signatures. It sounds like Denver's elected leaders are going to extreme, even extra-legal lengths simply to prevent what amounts to a public opinion poll with an unusually large sample.

NEXT: Cindy Sheehan: The White House Years

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. LOL, When I first read the headline, I misread it to be about Pol Pot. “But he’s dead,” I thought.

  2. His legend lives on!

  3. I salute the citizens of Denver, who alone in this country, are sending the right message to the children.

  4. Headline is clearly, a rip-off of Urkobold&trade‘s pol/pot/poll…

    Kiss your taint goodbye, Jacob.

  5. “penalies???”

  6. Humbold County Organic is the shizzzz.

  7. How many pols could Pol Pot poll if Pol Pot could smoke pot?

  8. It gets worse, not only is the city council doing everything they can to kill the initiative, but after Denver residents voted to legalize pot, the number of tickets issued for pot possesion actually increased!

  9. The initiative in question is NOT purely symbolic. It would be a new city ordinance that the City of Denver would be required by law to implement. It would also create a Marijuana Policy Review Panel that would oversee the ordinance’s implementation.

    The City of Seattle passed a virtually identical measure in 2003, and since then they have seen a massive decrease in the number of marijuana possession arrests and prosecutions taking place in the city.

    In fact, the Seattle City Council President, Nick Licata, along with Seattle Council Member Tom Rasmussen, sent an official letter to the Denver City Council detailing the feasibility and success of implementing such an initiative. They would know, as they are the co-chairs of their city’s respective Marijuana Policy Review Panel.

    Denver officials were given an out when the 2005 initiative passed. They could have stopped citing adults in Denver and followed the will of the voters. But they CHOSE to continue arrests, and they even arrested more adults than EVER before. They are now being forced to follow the will of the voters.

    If you agree that marijuana should be legal, decriminalized or at least not something our government spends our tax dollars enforcing, you should be supporting this effort. Change is not going to materialize out of nowhere.

  10. I’d be curious how the city / county issue is coming into play in this case. Denver is both a city and a county. There is only once city in the county of Denver. That city is the city of Denver. Could we petition to have a COUNTY ordinance? Or would state law trump that?

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.