Drug Policy

Pot Arrests Dip in Denver Following Ballot Initiative


Prosecutions of adults for possessing an ounce or less of marijuana dropped by a fifth in Denver last year, following the passage of a November 2007 ballot initiative that instructed city officials to make such cases their "lowest law enforcement priority." Last summer it looked like the Denver Police Department was ignoring the initiative, as it had a 2005 ballot measure that repealed local penalties for possessing less than an ounce of pot. (Police continued to arrest pot smokers, charging them with violating state law.) But according to data recently presented to the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, appointed by Mayor John Hickenlooper to oversee implementation of the 2007 initiative, prosecutions of pot smokers 21 or older fell from 2,105 in 2007 to 1,658 in 2008. "Our city punished far fewer adults for marijuana possession [last] year, yet the sky did not fall," says Mason Tvert, a member of the panel and the executive director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), the group that ran initiative campaign. "Hopefully this is just the beginning of Denver's shift toward a more rational approach to marijuana."

My previous posts on marijuana policy in Denver here, here, and here.

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  1. I love this story. City passes ballot initiative – which is probably the hardest way to pass law. City officials and police pretend it didn’t happen.

  2. Common sense peeks its head out, warily evaluating its surroundings…

  3. Why isn’t ownership of an once or less of cocaine, heroin or any other drug just as wonderful? Why should people with these drugs be the victims of such a law?

    Res ipsa loquitur.

  4. I love the name of that initiative.

  5. 20% drop in arrests doesn’t exactly sound like a resounding success when the law basically says “don’t arrest people for possession”.

  6. It’s fucking pathetic that this counts as a victory in the WOTWOD

  7. “Lowest priority” means “when you have nothing else to do.”

    If Denver has this many cops with nothing else to do, then it has too many cops.

  8. If Denver has this many cops with nothing else to do, then it has too many cops.


  9. Common sense peeks its head out, warily evaluating its surroundings…

    Sees it’s shadow,scurries back into burrow.600 more years of the War on Drugs.

  10. When I read the post title, I got a mental image of a big joint with mirrored shades beating a can of Skoal senseless with a nightstick.

  11. “When I read the post title, I got a mental image of a big joint with mirrored shades beating a can of Skoal senseless with a nightstick.”

    Same for me, only with Pol Pot and clam dip.

  12. See, I saw a dutch oven pulling over a black bean dip in a rich part of town.

  13. I am guessing the cops are taking the “lowest priority” thing somewhat lightly. But if its an easy catch, its an easy catch. Every kegger they break up or house party that gets called in by the local busy-body will undoubtedly have some dope there. Cops wouldn’t be cops if they didn’t try to collect some coin for whatever they could.

    I think the most telling statistic about effectiveness would be how many re-cyclers are still on the books. In any town, half the petty-possessions prosecuted usually originate from the same group of people getting busted, let out, busted again, repeat. I think any data indicating that trend would be a better window to whether or not police are really putting dope on the back-burner.

  14. prosecutions is not the same thing as arrests, busts, hassles or confiscations

  15. “prosecutions is not the same thing as arrests, busts, hassles or confiscations”

    Often a hassle for pot ends up being a justification for the cop to give you a “white glove” inspection so they can find stuff to charge you with and stack ’em up real good so you have to pay the maximum amount for your indiscretion.

  16. And the Colorado front range is also now rapidly developing a California style dispensary system which provides reasonable legal cover for both sellers and growers.

  17. Thomas Jackson – your pro War on Drug statements might be more convincing if they were coherent.

    Then again, maybe not.

  18. Why isn’t ownership of an once or less of cocaine, heroin or any other drug just as wonderful? Why should people with these drugs be the victims of such a law?

    Res ipsa loquitur.

    Those drugs should be legalized along with pot (including amounts more than 1 ounce). People who use them ought not be victims of the drug war.

    I don’t know if this speaks for itself, but unfortunately not many people seem to listen to pro-legalization messages.

  19. Baked Bird:

    Smoke another doobie birdbrain. Your comments only reflect your educational level and your ability to comprehend. Your comment demonstrates that someone with an IQ slightly lower than a mushroom can be mendacious yet sophomoric.

    Bong on.

    By the way I’ll take fries with my order.

  20. You know marijuanna is like any other drug, including alcohol. There are those that can be amazingly responsible. They can continue to get good grades, they can hold a steady job, and they can be an overall good citizen.

    Yet there are equally as many that Turn into complete morons fail out of school, lose their jobs because they show up late or becoem too apathetic, and resort to being a douche.

    Same with alcohol. Some people can go, get plastered, and NOT drive, and NOT get into fights, or fall down flights of stairs, and others that after consuming alcohol are complete morons.

    Punish the idiots, but leave the responsible people alone

  21. Nice ad hominem – at least your insults are coherent. Glad you could take time from polishing your jackboots to write that down.

    Do you actually live in Swaziland, btw? It’s got a government you could really approve of.

  22. That last comment was for Thomas Jackson, although I suspect he won’t get a chance to read it for a while. No-knock raids on innocent subjects really take it out of a guy.

  23. By the way I’ll take fries with my order.

    Yeah, sure, Michael Phelps will be serving you.

  24. Just goes to show what straining that surviving brain cell does. All the cauterwauling and whinning, the inability to present coherent arguments or evidence.

    So make sue to serve up those fries you two losers. And do try to be c0oherent, its hard when you’re as drugged out as you two are.

    Your faith in the inerrancy of the mighty reefer is demonstrated by your sophomoric and fatuous comments. One usually ascribes such wit to the inspidiness of education rather than the toxicity of the mind, but in both of your cases the drugs have done their work.

    One wonders who would entrust the serving of fries to you two? Off to Barney Frank’s with both of you too dear boys.

  25. Oh my, my. Nice try, Thomas Jackboot.

    You want coherent agruments against the drug war?

    Society does not have the right to tell adults what they can do to themselves so long as they do not harm others.

    Of course, you probably disagree with that. So let’s move on to

    The drug war does not work. It stops next to no one from using drugs, and it costs hundreds of billions of dollars annually to not work. Millions of people are in jail who have committed no other crime than possession of a substance the societal overlords have deemed unacceptable. These people, instead being productive and contributing to the economy, rot in prison with murderers, arsonists, rapists, robbers and others who indisputably belong there.

    While they are in jail, however, they can keep up with their habits in many cases – because drugs are often readily available in jail – which also goes to show the total failure of the WoD.

    Like Al Capone, who killed dozens to keep his illegal alcohol territory, the violence surrounding drugs is almost entirely related to their illegality. Coors and Busch don’t have shootouts, and Walgreens and CVS don’t kill each other over oxycontin territories. Alcohol, being legal, doesn’t inspire much violent crime from addicts – mainly petty crime and panhandling.

    Since in a drug trade, there is no victim to make a complaint – police have felt the need to resort to extra legal tactics in combatting them. This has resulted in all sorts of unseemly activity, as well as the steady erosion of Constitutional protections of the 4th, 5th, 8th & 10th amendments. Due process has also suffered greatly.

    The money available in th edrug trade has also corrupted many, many police officers. The “El Rukn” case in Chicago, a similar gang case in LA, as well as the incredible New Orleans police corruption scandals all show that the War on Drugs is undermining Rule of Law in this country.

    However, it’s even worse in other countries, such as Mexico, where the drug dealers are now nearly defacto rulers of the country. Similarly, our drug policy has pushed many Afghan farmers into the hands of the Taliban.

    And this is just the start…

  26. edit – 4th pp : “…millions of people…” s/b “…hundreds of thousands of people…”

  27. Dear Infantile Penguin:

    One can tell both the educational, emotional, and achievement level by the standard of stability in one’s comments.

    Having demonstrated you are both a successful lobotomy patient and off your meds the inability to form a coherent though is demonstrated throughout your drooling comment.

    To wit:

    Society does not have the right to tell adults what to do so long as they do not hurt others.

    What world do you live in.

    Have you not heard of the IRS?

    Perhaps you haven’t heard of the various labor standards required for safety and welfare of people even if no one is harmed or could be harmed?

    Perhaps you can explain why the Congress has mandated the amount of water a toilet can use or the type of light bulbs that we can purchase.

    Now due to your long experience in law enforcement and vast experience overseas you boldly assert the drug war does not work.

    So tell us what your background is that allows you to have such insights or did you just pull it out of your ass as you usually do?

    Perhaps you can explain the laws against prostitution and gambling.

    Demonstrating your inability to reason or evaluate data you use the example or drugs corrupting law enforcement. So let us hget this straight if all drugs were legal corruption would vanish?

    By such reasoning one must realize that Las Vegas is the mecca of the vrtuous since corruption and vice cannot exist there.

    You Penguin are the Leni Riefenstahl of Morlock Leftism. So drug addled that you can’t comment coherently or intelligently. Someone who would have us believe that the freedom to be addled is beneficial to the individual and the nation. Personally I would welcome free drug useage in this country.

    In three years the gene pool would be cleaned out of the druggies or they would all be drooling on sidewalks where they could be readily identified and pissed upon. I’d like to call you an adept liar, but you are not.

    Your ignorance is exceeded only by an arrogance which you have in abundance. One wonders if the gravitational field is altered when you pass.

    You wouldn’t have a clue what the rule of law is. This country discarded the rule of law ehn it decided judges made law and abandoned Blackstone.

    So unfortunately the SC has ruled that braying at the moon while wearing high heels is a protected form of expression and you can continue to comment regardless of the dictates of good form or education.

    Now off to your sandbox laddie and lecture the other 6th graders about the rule of law and failure of the war on drugs.

  28. **surreptitiously rubs several french fries in asscrack before replacing them in bag**

    “here you are mr. jackson sir. would you like a coke or something to wash them down?”

  29. The Thomas Jackson post 5:27pm is a beautiful jumble of random paragraphs strung together.

    Each one seems to have some internal sense but strung together they convey no meaning at all.

  30. Kreel – well put. He addressed zero of the points I made, because he has zero argument to make. Instead, he just went on with the insults and can be dismissed a worthless, gutless troll. Into INCIF he goes, (with another thank you to Eric the .5b).

  31. The Thomas Jackson post 5:27pm is a beautiful jumble of random paragraphs strung together

    I imagine a random sample of phrasesd found in a Google search would be more sensical.

    Oh, and “cauterwauling[sic]” and “whinning” are basically the same thing, so before you go to thesaurus.com attempting to make yourself sound intellegent, remember that some of us have computers as well…

  32. I just watched the “Hooked: Illegal Drugs” on the History Channel about marijuana. Anyone ever seen that? Anyone ever want to slapaho as much as Harry Anslinger? That guy’s a dick.

  33. Hey guys, sign the med pot petition for Obama to see. They only have about 725 signatures so far. That ain’t enough.



  34. Or we could just legalize it. That one has much more signatures.


  35. …uh…

  36. I see the druggies have banded together and lecturing us about the merits of their fries. Their combined wits make them sound like Biden on drugs.

    Good to see they all are gainfully employed though one wonders who would allow them to man the fries counter. Ugh the thought of any of these druggies handling food reminds me of the dullards bathing in the backrooms of fast food joints.

    But Barney Frank’s children have to eat too.

  37. Yo, bathing is… uh… like, bathing is so…

  38. Drugs make superior minds. Could druggies really believe this? Must have something to do with their worship of the mothership.

  39. It’s like…

  40. Stoner:

    Its so, you know dude, its so like Pepsi!

  41. Yeah!


  42. Stoner:

    I’d sign Sage’s petition but can’t find his crayon.

    Obamie must have it.

  43. That is SO cool.

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