Apparently the Democrats converging on Denver for the Democratic National Convention are a wild and crazy bunch of guys and gals. A panel has advised the Mayor of Denver that he should not enforce the marijuana possession laws during the week of the convention. Here is the article from the Denver Post:
A panel set up to review Denver’s marijuana policies has recommended that police refrain from arresting adults who fire up during the Democratic National Convention.
Police will have to deal with numerous security issues next week when thousands of people — from protesters to delegates — descend on Denver, said Mason Tvert, leader of a group that sponsored a law mandating that marijuana be a low-enforcement priority.
“It is absolutely absurd for the police to be spending any of their time worrying about adults using a drug that is less harmful than alcohol,” he said today.
Tvert, who also sits on the Marijuana Policy Review Panel, said he would deliver the recommendation to Mayor John Hickenlooper, Police Chief Gerald Whitman and Denver City Council president Jeanne Robb.
The panel was formed to gather statistics on marijuana arrests and has no legal authority, said David Broadwell, Denver assistant district attorney. “Any citizen can make a recommendation,” he said, adding that police have no obligation to follow it.
Denver police spokesman Sonny Jackson said officers will continue to enforce a state statute barring possession and use of marijuana despite the voter-approved city ordinance making small amounts of marijuana the “lowest law-enforcement priority.”
“We can’t relax the laws; we have to enforce the laws on the books. If an officer witnesses a wrongdoing, he is responsible to take action,” Jackson said.
Police and the mayor’s office weren’t immediately available for comment today.
The panel recommended that police not arrest, detain or issue a citation to anyone over 21 who possesses up to one ounce of pot for private use during the convention.
In 2005, city voters approved a referendum that mirrors the panel’s recommendation, but arrests continued as police continued to enforce state law.
In 2007, voters approved making marijuana the city’s lowest law-enforcement priority.
But in the first six months of this year, Tvert said, 927 adults were prosecuted for possession.
“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 Tvert. “Now a panel appointed by the mayor of Denver has echoed that call, and we hope police will not defy the people of this city or its mayor when the international spotlight hits the Mile High City next week.”
We know the Convention will be a busy time, and the police forces will be strained, but why would one recommend that one specific law not be enforced? Hmmm…. You would think that these guys were invited to speak at the Convention:
This article suggests that some of the Democrats going to the Convention are planning to re-create the Summer of Love:
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…
A co-worker of mine heard about this and said “this cannot be good for the Party.” I disagreed with him, noting that “the Party” will probably go on just fine under these conditions.
But voters should beware: If Barack Obama wins the election, don’t be disappointed if he and his fellow Democrats don’t remember the campaign promises he made in his acceptance speech.