Monday, November 07, 2005

Rocky Mountain News: Editorials: City must enforce state pot law

Rocky Mountain News: Editorials: "The decision by Denver voters to legalize the possession of a small amount of marijuana is more symbolic than real: Only 36 adults were charged last year under the now-defunct city ordinance prohibiting possession.

Meanwhile, 1,565 were charged under the state law, which remains intact.

But Mason Tvert, the executive director of the group that put the initiative on the ballot, insists Denver authorities should respect voter wishes and stop charging anyone under the state law, too.
'Right now,' he told one reporter, 'there are city officials denying the will of voters who put them in office, and I think that's disturbing.'

We understand Tvert's frustration, but the matter is not as simple as he makes it out to be. Yes, prosecution of even the state marijuana charges in Denver is left almost exclusively to city attorneys, who for such cases are deputized as special DAs. The regular district attorneys are too busy pursuing more serious crimes. In theory, the mayor could order Denver attorneys simply to stop pursuing such cases.

But it would be unwise for him to do so, for three reasons. " (more)

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