Marijuana Cases Continue in Denver Despite Voter Directive

Marijuana arrests and prosecutions have continued virtually unabated in Denver, despite passage of a voter initiative calling for police to make such cases their lowest priority, the Denver Post reported March 1.

The ballot question was approved by city residents more than two years ago, but last year Denver city attorneys prosecuted 1,696 cases where possession of less than an ounce of marijuana was part of the charges. That compared to 1,658 cases in 2008 and 1,841 cases in 2006, the year prior to the minimal-enforcement mandate being approved by voters.

Prosecutors said they were compelled to prosecute the cases because they fall under state law, not local law. Supporters of marijuana decriminalization disagree, saying prosecutors have discretion to halt such cases. Members of the city’s Marijuana Policy Review Panel said their recommendations have largely been ignored by prosecutors and judges.

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