Drug Policy

Pols Plan to Preclude Pot Poll

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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.