City panel to cops: Hold off on pot arrests during Democratic Convention
Denver police should refrain from penalizing adults for possession of small amounts of cannabis, up to an ounce, during the Democratic National Convention, the mayor's advisory panel said Wednesday.
While simple possession of small amounts is the city's lowest law enforcement priority thanks to initiatives passed by voters in 2005 and 2007, state law remains in place and enforceable. "We've always enforced the state statute," Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said Monday. "That was the law before the initiative and it's nothing new. I don't know why we'd relax any law."
The Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, assembled by Mayor John Hickenlooper on December 21, 2007, has adopted a resolution:
The Marijuana Policy Review Panel recommends that the Denver Police Department should refrain from arresting, detaining, or issuing a citation to any adult 21 years of age or older for the private possession of up to one ounce of marijuana during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
"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 SAFER founder and panel member Mason Tvert. "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."
"If police expect the taxpayers to cover their $1.2 million in overtime during the DNC," he added, "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."
A press conference will be held at Denver's City and County Building, 1437 Bannock Street, on Thursday, August 21, at 12 noon. The official memorandum will then be delivered to Mayor Hickenlooper and the police chief.
A PDF copy of the memorandum is available to view HERE.