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Will the DNC go to pot? Pro-marijuana group wants moratorium on busts at DNC
Pot smokers may be free to light up in the streets of Denver next week if a voter-required panel endorses a moratorium on marijuana citations during the Democratic National Convention.
Protesters heading into the convention have wanted to recreate the vibe of 1960s America. Well, Denver could resemble San Francisco during the Summer of Love if the Marijuana Policy Review Panel today recommends a moratorium on pot citations for adults during the convention.
Denver voters in 2005 approved the adult possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, an initiative spearheaded by Denver-based Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation. But the Denver Police Department continued to arrest people under state law.
Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said police intend to enforce state law during the Democratic National Convention as well.
We've always enforced the state statute, he said. That was the law before the initiative and it's nothing new. I don't know why we'd relax any law.
Reflecting will of voters?
Pot proponent Mason Tvert, executive director of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, said the moratorium is necessary to reflect the will of Denver voters. He also said the issue is about safety, arguing that marijuana is a less harmful drug than alcohol.
The DNC will be safer if the city gives convention-goers, demonstrators and Denver citizens the option of using marijuana instead of alcohol, he said. After all, it's alcohol not marijuana that fuels riots, violence and property damage.
The Marijuana Policy Review Panel was assembled last year after voters approved a second initiative by SAFER to make marijuana enforcement the police departmentТs lowest priority. The initiative required Mayor John Hickenlooper to appoint the policy review panel, which consists of city officials, attorneys and community leaders. Tvert is expected today to ask the panel to adopt his proposal for a moratorium.
The police department could choose to ignore the recommendation.
Tvert also is expected today to release statistics that indicate despite the two voter-approved pot initiatives, marijuana citations are sill on the rise. There were 1,600 marijuana citations issued in Denver in 2007.
The city is currently on-track to reach at least 1,800 marijuana citations this year, said Tvert, who added that there were 927 citations issued through June.
In that same period, there were only 64 cases of drunk and disorderly conduct, said Tvert.
Cops only cited people for being drunk and disorderly 64 times, yet they cited 927 (adults) for simply possessing a little pot, he said. УJust goes to show where their priorities are.
Not a priority?
City Councilman Doug Linkhart, who sits on the marijuana enforcement panel, said he does not believe marijuana enforcement will be a priority during the convention.
The ordinance says lowest priority, it doesn't say stop prosecuting, he said. It's not concerned police will get carried away.
Tvert, however, said all police officials have to do is promise not to enforce marijuana laws, and then citizens are guaranteed no problem.
It's time we allow adults to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that's what they prefer, he said.
if im not mistaken, the police are meant to uphold the law. and if the police disobey that law in lieu of the voter outcome isnt that considered a police state. I mean the elected officials create a policy that makes possession of less that an oz legal, yet the police enforce laws.
i think that the hardest thing about MJ prohibition is that unlike other drugs, weed is always touted as being peaceful, so anytime anyone creates even the smallest bit of violence, wether it be provoked or not it is always the drugs fault, not human. Humans have been bred to be violent, all through history there has been violence, but in this day, only those who we feel are supposed to "protect" us from the harms of the world actually cause harm.
The law does not prohibit them from arresting people for marijuana, and since the police likely are responsible by state law to enforce state law, the law of the municipality cannot prevent them from enforcing a state law.
And I think the proposal is a bad idea that will incite negative coverage and dirty hippies smoking openly, which is bad for legalization.
I must also say I'm uncomfortable with the idea of legalizing possesion while not legalizing sales- sales are a huge problem with the drug war too.
And I'm all for legalizing pot, but worry that once it occurs the wind will be out of the sails of the drug war reformers.
Legalize now, everything, and watch crime fall and human rights and respect for the police rise.
^^ word, if drugs were legalized i would love cops, but because theyre not, i hate them
-------------------- grassman said:
I remember being in DARE when i was much younger and some of the stories they would tell you are not only ridiculous, but completely untrue. One story was that a woman was on LSD and thought her infant was a turkey so she baked it in the oven. Now I look back and think thats hilarious, but at the time I guess it scared me.