Marijuana: Would Amendment 64 really prevent 12,000 pot arrests?

Thumbnail image for man hands in handcuffs.jpg
In our recent post about cannabis community division over Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, Mason Tvert, among the measure's main proponents, said passage of the initiative would prevent as many as 12,000 pot-related arrests per year. Is this estimate reasonable? A report on view below implies that it is, although a local attorney concedes that pinning down actual numbers is difficult.

"Marijuana in Colorado: Arrests, Usage and Related Data," a 2009 study by Jon Gettman accessible at DrugScience.org and on view below, sports the following passage:

Marijuana arrests in Colorado increased from 11,163 in 2003 to 12,358 in 2007. The arrest rate in 2003 was 245 per 100,000 while in 2007 it was 254.
The source for the arrest data is attributed to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program.

jon gettman.jpg
Jon Gettman.
These figures are echoed in the following comment by Tvert about Amendment 64: "This initiative, if it passes, will immediately result in upwards of 10,000 to 12,000 Coloradans not being arrested over the course of the next year for marijuana-related offenses. So opposing this initiative is supporting the arrests of 10,000-plus Coloradans for marijuana crimes."

Speaking today, Tvert says the arrest figures used by the Amendment 64 campaign are mainly from two sources: the FBI's Uniform Crime Report (also used by Gettman) for the years 2007 through 2009, and Colorado Bureau of Investigation figures for 2010.

Granted, there are limits in the amendment language pertaining to activities that will be legal for adults age 21 and over should voters give their approval. Here's the section in question:

(3) Personal use of marijuana. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OTHER PROVISION OF LAW, THE FOLLOWING ACTS ARE NOT UNLAWFUL AND SHALL NOT BE AN OFFENSE UNDER COLORADO LAW OR THE LAW OF ANY LOCALITY WITHIN COLORADO OR BE A BASIS FOR SEIZURE OR FORFEITURE OF ASSETS UNDER COLORADO LAW FOR PERSONS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER:

(a) POSSESSING, USING, DISPLAYING, PURCHASING, OR TRANSPORTING MARIJUANA ACCESSORIES OR ONE OUNCE OR LESS OF MARIJUANA.

(b) POSSESSING, GROWING, PROCESSING, OR TRANSPORTING NO MORE THAN SIX MARIJUANA PLANTS, WITH THREE OR FEWER BEING MATURE, FLOWERING PLANTS, AND POSSESSION OF THE MARIJUANA PRODUCED BY THE PLANTS ON THE PREMISES WHERE THE PLANTS WERE GROWN, PROVIDED THAT THE GROWING TAKES PLACE IN AN ENCLOSED, LOCKED SPACE, IS NOT CONDUCTED OPENLY OR PUBLICLY, AND IS NOT MADE AVAILABLE FOR SALE.

(c) TRANSFER OF ONE OUNCE OR LESS OF MARIJUANA WITHOUT REMUNERATION TO A PERSON WHO IS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER.

(d) CONSUMPTION OF MARIJUANA, PROVIDED THAT NOTHING IN THIS SECTION SHALL PERMIT CONSUMPTION THAT IS CONDUCTED OPENLY AND PUBLICLY OR IN A MANNER THAT ENDANGERS OTHERS.

(e) ASSISTING ANOTHER PERSON WHO IS TWENTY-ONE YEARS OF AGE OR OLDER IN ANY OF THE ACTS DESCRIBED IN PARAGRAPHS (a) THROUGH (d) OF THIS SUBSECTION.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for mason tvert photograph.jpg
Mason Tvert.
As these passages make clear, Amendment 64 would only provide protection from Colorado authorities for individuals possessing an ounce or less of marijuana and/or six plants, three of which can be flowering. (Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level.) And there's no telling from the Gettman study how many of the busts he enumerates involved amounts that would fall under these limits, as opposed to arrests for more than an ounce and six plants.

As seen in documents shared by Tvert (they're on view below), the info the campaign's received about marijuana arrests in Colorado features some breakdowns, but most of them pertain to race -- although there is a differentiation between "sale and manufacturing of marijuana" and "possession of marijuana." He concedes that "a lot of these agencies really don't do a great job of handling data, which we learned during our Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel. It was very difficult for us to ultimately get statistics even in Denver. We got some figures being kept by the police, and some figures being kept by prosecutors or the city attorney's office, and they didn't always match up. So it's really difficult to be precise."

This point is echoed by medical marijuana attorney Warren Edson.

"It's a conundrum," he says. "If there was a DU law student who had a year to do a project, you could maybe get some numbers. But even then, they'd be rough, because there are so many little municipalities around the state. Where does it end?"

Still, Edson notes that under the current system, small offenses can result in bigger-than-expected penalties.

Continue reading for more about marijuana arrests in Colorado, including Jon Gettman's study and info from the Yes on 64 campaign.


My Voice Nation Help
43 comments
palmspringsbum1
palmspringsbum1

So how many people will go to jail for smoking in public?  Are we to be prisoners in our homes now?  Why make it illegal to smoke in public?  What about medical patients who need to smoke every few hours?  At best, this will set them up for harassment.  At worst it will mean they can't work or do much of anything else.

WaywardBill
WaywardBill

If you're PRO you are a cannabis prohibitionist and if you're CON you are a cannabis prohibitionist. STUPID ARGUMENT! Name calling and slandering insane. 

 

Say your mind, vote your choice, & just quit hating. We will never get back to the garden this way kids. Know A64 & vote your conscious. Mostly don't vote blind.

Peace, Pot, Politics,

Wayward Bill Chengelis

Chairman, US Marijuana Party.

 

Chris
Chris

I know that we are all interested in what A64 will do to us but don't you think it is a bit scary that records of the amount of marijuana that a person is carrying are not kept. If I was at risk of being sent to jail due to carrying some amount of a compound, I would damn well want that amount recorded.

Rob Payne
Rob Payne

I don't see an issue with those under 21 being charged with the current laws as they stand. Even right now a first time offense is nothing more than the equivelant to a traffic offense. Unless you are distributing or carrying much more than you would need for personal consumption.

Rob Payne
Rob Payne

I don't see an issue with those under 21 being charged with the current laws as they stand. Even right now a first time offense is nothing more than the equivelant to a traffic offense. Unless you are distributing or carrying much more than you would need for personal consumption.

Mannick D Pres-Saint
Mannick D Pres-Saint

Michael Barbush, here is a copy of the arrest rates in the state of CO from 2006-07 (the latest available I could find, although it is doubtful that the rates would dramatically change in a matter of a few years). You might want to pay close attention to these figures: Males age 15 to 19: 33% 2,268 Females age 15 to 19: 7% 512 http://www.drugscience.org/States/CO/CO.pdf " i don't think these figures seem to high" Well, you have to consider that the population of the entire state of CO is barely more than half than that of the Chicago metro area, alone, so what may seem "low" to you would be average or high elsewhere. Besides, it's not as if law enforcement is literally going door-to-door or pulling random people off the street solely for the purpose of checking for pot without reasonable suspicion. Often, these people get caught either via traffic stop or engaging in some other petty offense. The penalty for pot possession is, of course, greater than that for the original offense so of course MPP's 95% figure for simple possession would reflect that. Again, A64 does NOT protect the under-21 users, and the young & stupid need the most protection. By the way, should this amendment succeed, then I would not put it past the feds to increase their presence in the state (more crackdowns on growers), regardless of who ends up with the presidency.

Michael Barbush
Michael Barbush

did you do any reseaerch to come to the conclusion that these figures are not correct or is this just your opinion i don't think these figures seem to high,no pun intended.it's like 35 arrest a day not very many i live in chicago and here it's like over 20 arrest a day so no i don't think these figures are high i think they are on the low side

Mannick D Pres-Saint
Mannick D Pres-Saint

Michael Barbush, just because the under-21 crowd may not be directly targeted by law enforcement doesn't mean they are protected by A64 IF they ever caught with any amount of marijuana. Also, I am not opposed to A64, but I'm merely pointing out that the movement would be better served by not relying upon misleading information.

Mannick D Pres-Saint
Mannick D Pres-Saint

Michael Barbush, just because the under-21 crowd may not be directly targeted by law enforcement doesn't mean they are protected by A64 IF they ever caught with any amount of marijuana. Also, I am not opposed to A64, but I'm merely pointing out that the movement would be better served by not relying upon misleading information.

Michael Barbush
Michael Barbush

just ask any drug dealer if he/she wants drugs to be legal, that should tell you all you want to know, if drugs are legal they are out of business

Michael Barbush
Michael Barbush

just ask any drug dealer if he/she wants drugs to be legal, that should tell you all you want to know, if drugs are legal they are out of business

Michael Barbush
Michael Barbush

if the amendment went into action they would not target the ones under 21 imo, they would probably only arrest them if they found weed on them while getting them for a different offense it would be like a secondary offense they would'nt be out there looking for this, and by the way how many deaths have been attributed to smoking weed , weed ain't a drug it's a herb maybe we should worry more about all the deaths attributed to alcohol and prescription drugs which are legal, taken on it's own weed is pretty much harmless, but putting people in jail for weed is dangerous it just turns pretty much harmless people in jail with hardened criminals and may in turn turn the harmless weed smokers into hardened crimminals. L.E.A.P. law enforcement against prohibition the war on drugs has been a total disaster and has directly cost us taxpayers over 1 trillion dollars, indirectly priceless

Michael Barbush
Michael Barbush

that's not even 40 arrests a day we are'nt talking convictions here

Mannick D Pres-Saint
Mannick D Pres-Saint

Considering that a significant portion of arrests involve offenders under age 21 (for whom the law would NOT protect) and that the majority of arrests occurred during the commission of another offense, pro-64 activists are clearly inflating the figures.

Eric Pidgeon
Eric Pidgeon

That sounds like a lot. I don't know the real statistics but that number seems awfully high.

hell2pay
hell2pay

I know I will be voting yes on this initiative. It's time to end the stupid prohibition. While Oregon's piece sounds better, this is still a very progressive and positive step forward. It will relieve a lot of doctors from having to write what some would say, false recommendations for patients who benefit in smaller ways. Provide people like me with a legal alternative to drinking (just recently quit). Provide money for the state and education systems, and also all the closet smokers don't have to feel like they are horrible criminals.

Yes_on_A64
Yes_on_A64

Voting yes on A64 is the moral thing to do. It is the right thing to do. Everyone will benefit from it passing except drug dealers profiting from the current black market.  The only people who want you to vote against it are people profiting from the black market. 

CommonSense
CommonSense

Funny how you get a raging hard on about the "LIARS", yet you are able stroke off a few spineless dribbles yourself.

--Possession-- The Reduction in Arrest will come from those legally in possession of an ounce or less. Seriously, how much do you need to be hauling around?

 

--Cultivation-- The Reduction in Arrest will come from those legally growing 6 plants or less.  If you can't supply your personal needs by growing your own 6 plants, your skills are severely retarded. You can posses all you want on the site that you grew your plants... No 2 OZ limit there.

 

--Sales-- Of course you will not be able to grow your crop in your mom's basement then hustle it on the black market.  Sales will be conducted by licensed centers.  Similar to home brewing beer, you can brew all you want, but you can't sell it.

 

I have a hard time trying to figure out why you are so against any steps in the direction of legalization.  Why do you not have a better proposition on the table if you are the self proclaimed spewer of what's right for us minions ?

 

anonymouse
anonymouse

If you actually go out and look at the arrest data from Colorado's jail systems you'll find some interesting patterns.  Something like 95% of "pot arrests" occur when someone is arrested for doing something stupid while in possession of some pot or paraphernalia-and over half of those occur in conjunction with a traffic stop. 

 

If it were possible to collect all the data for the state's jails we'd see something like 4000 pot arrests annually, where, regardless of the presence of the weed, the arrest would have occurred--usually for things like simple assault, trespassing, contributing to delinquency, theft, driving under suspension, wanted under a prior warrant, being stupid in pubic, minor in possession, etc.

 

Citing these people for pot possession when they're already being arrested is akin to citing them for holding a pack of cigarettes.  At this point it serves no valid societal purpose other than to boost the old "pot causes crime" statistics.

 

I'd speculate that as far as arrests for "just weed" are concerned, we're looking at under 1,000, state-wide, annually.  Basically you have to be growing or holding over 2oz, without a med card, to even face an arrest these days--it still happens but in diminishing amounts--again, more often than not, somehow in conjunction with a traffic stop.

Molly
Molly

Mason Tvert, Betty Aldworth, Brian Vicente, Josh Kappel, MPP, DPA, NORML are all guilty of LYING to try to get people to support their Am. 64. This article proves it. There is no breakdown of how many of these arrests were for less than one ounce and 6 plants or less. THEREFORE, wait for it.....

they are LYING when they say Am. 64 would result it 10,000 fewer arrests.

 

LYING LIARS ARE WORSE THAN THE DEA! If their law can't stand on its own without them having to LIE about the statistics, that should really open people's eyes to the DECEPTION employed by these campaigners. They should be ASHAMED of these LIES.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Note the Gettman study shows that nearly *** 50% *** of all marijuana arrests are for those UNDER 21 years old !!

 

The very demographic that A64 specifically EXCLUDES from ANY PROTECTION whatsoever!

 

That fact alone shows what abject liars and repugnant scumbags the A64 pimps are, deliberately excluding 50% of the at-risk demographic from coverage -- the very demographic that most needs protection from criminal law, the young and dumb.

 

A64 = written FOR law-enforcement by wretched lying lowlife scum.

 

.

 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

So Tvert, Vicente, Aldworth and the rest of the lying scum behind A64 admit that their assertion that A64 "would instantly prevent 10,000-12,000 arrests" for Marijuana in Colorado is an ABJECT LIE based upon the utterly FALSE premise that ALL MARIJUANA would be legal, in ALL quantities and ALL situations, for anyone of any age, and for SALES of marijuana in ANY quantity. And the "financial savings" they impart to the lie are also false.

 

-- Possession --

Up to 2 (two) ounces is already decriminalized for recreational use by Colorado Statute, for anyone including those 18 years old and up.

 

A64's only allows 1 (one) ounce, and only for those 21 and older, leaving every adult under 21 and all those possessing 29 grams or more exposed to all existing criminal laws.

 

Reduction in Arrests = ZERO!

 

-- Cultivation --

A64 only allows 3 (three) flowering plants, and only for those over 21, leaving all adults under 21 and anyone with 4 or more completely exposed to existing Felony marijuana laws. A64 liars haven't provided a single case of anyone over 21 being arrested for cultivating only 3 flowering plants, much less anything approaching the 10,000 they falsely assert.

 

Reduction in Arrests = ZERO!

 

-- Sales --

A64 does NOT allow ANY private sales between consenting adults -- not even one gram -- maintaining ALL FELONY criminal laws currently in place.

 

Reduction in Arrests = ZERO!

 

 

A64 = The Big LIE promoted by amoral lowlife lying liars.

 

.

 

 

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

The estimate includes citations for petty offenses under State law, but it also includes some felony arrests for cultivation of six or fewer cannabis plants.  Amendment 64 will prevent some arrests for cannabis, so anyone who wants to end Prohibition entirely should work to pass it, then move on to attack the individual statutes, institutions, and persons who profit off the criminalization of America.

palmspringsbum1
palmspringsbum1

And, one ounce and 3 mature plants?  So what if your plant produces more than an ounce?  And why are these limits the same as most medical marijuana laws?

Monkey
Monkey

 @Chris The amount you carry is always recorded when police detain you. So are the things you say and how you behave. A pre-recorded amount would change every time you smoke a bowl, or let shitty dispensary weed dry on your coffee table. Who else do you want recording the amount you have? And why?

Monkey
Monkey

 @Yes_on_A64 Our current legal marijuana distribution system profits from the black market, just like all organized crime does. Are you saying our regulated drug dealers and commercial grows want you to vote against A64? I thought they would be for the Amendment. MMJ card holders are a small customer base, everyone over 21 would be a huge increase in potential customers.

Monkey
Monkey

 @CommonSense I don't need to haul around any, an ounce is no more a necessity than a pound, it is not a arbitrary limit on needs, it is so you can be charged for more than an ounce. Go to a doctor and double that, even our legislators think 1 ounce is a silly limit, and decriminalized 2.

 

Not being able to pop a 10 pack of seeds is retarded, no matter what your skill level is. What happens when police don't believe you grew the the weed? Who will have the burden of proof, the police or you? Sounds like statutory laws after A64 will need to "clarify" things like 1284/1043 did for A20, stripping away the very things we voted for.

 

"Similar to home brewing". except no one limits the raw products used to brew beer like A64 does for home hash makers. Police don't have probable cause to search your house when the smell beer. You can brew beer in your backyard, or inside without a locked door. I can also give my friends more than an ounce of beer.

 

Unfortunately, we don't have anything on the table worth voting for. Oregon voters are the only ones who get to vote for legalization. They didn't pander to police or try to fool weed smokers. Their message is simple:

"The cultivation and possession of cannabis for personal, noncommercial use by an adult shall not require a license nor registration."

It's just that simple, if most people vote for it, Oregon will be the first to legalize weed. If A64 passes, Colorado wont be able to make the same claims without lying, all we can vote for is if we want to remove the need to see a doctor for the privilege of possessing half the amount doctors already allow.

palmspringsbum1
palmspringsbum1

 @Molly If you remember, NORML and Rush Belville did the same song and dance about Prop. 19 - the only thing more amazing than how fast their numbers shrunk when people started looking into them is that anyone takes anything they say seriously.

-----

"Marc Emery repeatedly mentions 31 million Californians in his endorsement of Proposition 19.  Russ Belville uses the somewhat more conservative 22.5 million Americans.

 

Tom Ammiano brings a glimmer of honesty to the debate with his figure of “more than 61,000 Californians arrested for misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2008 alone”.

 

“However, it is important to note that this statistic does not refer to any arrest demographic that the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative would affect,” declaresDragonfly De La Luz.

 

http://palmspringsbum.org/blog/2010/07/californias-prop-19-wont-keep-much-of-anyone-out-of-jail/

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @Molly -- Lying Liars are as Lying Liars do !!

 

Stop the LIES !! -- Vote NO on the Bag of Lies that is A64 !!

 

Prosecute the Lying Liars behind A64 for FRAUD!

 

Disbar Brian Vicente for violating the Colorado Rules of Professional Conduct!

 

Rule 4.1. Truthfulness In Statements To Others

 

RULE 4.1. TRUTHFULNESS IN STATEMENTS TO OTHERS

 

 In the course of representing a client a lawyer shall not knowingly:

 

 (a) make a false statement of material fact or law to a third person; or

 

 (b) fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act by a client ...

 

False Statements

 

 [1] A lawyer is required to be truthful when dealing with others on a client’s behalf, but generally has no affirmative duty to inform an opposing party of relevant facts. A false statement can occur if the lawyer incorporates or affirms a statement of another person that the lawyer knows is false. Omissions or partially true but misleading statements can be the equivalent of affirmative false statements. For dishonest conduct generally see Rule 8.4.

 

Statements of Fact

 

 [2] This Rule refers to statements of fact. Whether a particular statement should be regarded as one of fact can depend on the circumstances. Under generally accepted conventions in negotiation, certain types of statements ordinarily are not taken as statements of fact. Estimates of price or value placed on the subject of a transaction and a party's intentions as to an acceptable settlement of a claim are ordinarily in this category, and so is the existence of an undisclosed principal except where nondisclosure of the principal would constitute fraud. Lawyers should be mindful of their obligations under applicable law to avoid criminal and tortious misrepresentation.

 

Crime or Fraud by Client

 

 [3] Under Rule l.2(d), a lawyer is prohibited from counseling or assisting a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal or fraudulent. Paragraph (b) states a specific application of the principle set forth in Rule 1.2(d) and addresses the situation where a client's crime or fraud takes the form of a lie or misrepresentation.

 

Ordinarily, a lawyer can avoid assisting a client's crime or fraud by withdrawing from the representation. Sometimes it may be necessary for the lawyer to give notice of the fact of withdrawal and to disaffirm an opinion, document, affirmation or the like. In extreme cases, substantive law may require a lawyer to disclose information relating to the representation to avoid being deemed to have assisted the client's crime or fraud. If the lawyer can avoid assisting a client's crime or fraud only by disclosing this information, then under paragraph (b) the lawyer is required to do so, unless the disclosure is prohibited by Rule 1.6.

 

 

 

Monkey
Monkey

 @DonkeyHotay Last time I was in court for "failing to stop at a stop sign", all of the people before me were under 21, and ticketed for marijuana possession or paraphernalia. During my "arrest", meaning any time an officer stops or detains you, I was in possession of much more than an ounce, but guess what, It was never part of my ticket because I went to a doctor. All the kids in court with me could have avoided their $100 plus court fee penalty if they too went to a doctor, but A64 would have no effect. Probation/Parole violations related to marijuana seem to be the biggest problem. If those people will not benefit from A64, then I believe you are right, reductions in court appearances, arrest and incarceration will be (near) zero. 

CommonSense
CommonSense

 @DonkeyHotay Funny how you get a raging hard on about the "LIARS", yet you are able stroke off a few spineless dribbles yourself.

--Possession-- The Reduction in Arrest will come from those legally in possession of an ounce or less. Seriously, how much do you need to be hauling around?

 

--Cultivation-- The Reduction in Arrest will come from those legally growing 6 plants or less.  If you can't supply your personal needs by growing your own 6 plants, your skills are severely retarded. You can posses all you want on the site that you grew your plants... No 2 OZ limit there.

 

--Sales-- Of course you will not be able to grow your crop in your mom's basement then hustle it on the black market.  Sales will be conducted by licensed centers.  Similar to home brewing beer, you can brew all you want, but you can't sell it.

 

I have a hard time trying to figure out why you are so against any steps in the direction of legalization.  Why do you not have a better proposition on the table if you are the self proclaimed spewer of what's right for us minions ?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @RobertChase -- A64 maintains Criminal Prohibition against Marijuana, with extra regulations and taxes thrown in for good measure.

 

 

palmspringsbum1
palmspringsbum1

 @Monkey  @Yes_on_A64 MMJ card holders are a small customer base, everyone over 21 would be a huge increase in potential customers.

-----

Medical patients smoke, on average, 2 or more ounces per month.  Recreational users might smoke that much in a year.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Monkey  @Yes_on_A64 "Our current legal marijuana distribution system profits from the black market, just like all organized crime does. "

 

Nonsense.  MMC's are not black market dealers any more than the casinos in Black Hawk are.  Come to grips, man.

IcePick
IcePick

 @Monkey  @CommonSense How is making it a communist issue in Oregon (non-commercial) better?  Why do you have capitalism and the America it built?

IcePick
IcePick

 @DonkeyHotay  @Molly Hey Donkey, you forgot to question the 10,000 arrests.  Oh, I guess you can't now, huh?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 @RobertChase "Amendment 64 would not stop unjust imprisonment for cannabis, legalize cannabis, or regulate it like alcohol."-- Robert Chase

Now Trending

From the Vault

 

Loading...