Marijuana: Denver DA Mitch Morrissey to drop pot cases legal under Amendment 64
Update: Yesterday, Boulder ACLU head Judd Golden praised Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett for directing his office to drop prosecutions of pot cases that will become legal once Amendment 64 is signed into law; see our original post below. He also expressed mystification over why Garnett's counterpart in Denver, Mitch Morrissey, had not made a similar announcement. But now, Morrissey has -- and he's not the only one.
As you'll recall, Morrissey publicly opposed Amendment 64 at an October press event sponsored by Smart Colorado, the leading No on 64 organization. He joined Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, Broomfield Chief of Police Thomas Deland and Vicki Ferrari, boardmember of the Colorado Drug Investigators Association (and former American Gladiators contestant) on the State Capitol steps, with Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hillkey appearing at a separate event in Palisade, on the Western Slope. Afterward, Smart Colorado released the following quote from Morrissey:
"Amendment 64 would amend our overburdened Colorado Constitution and cause endless litigation. Amendment 64 will cost Colorado taxpayers money because of this litigation, and because it's a constitutional amendment it can't be fixed by the legislature. Drug policy does not belong in the Constitution."Despite this argument, Colorado voters approved the measure -- and while Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, an even earlier critic of Amendment 64, has said he'll continue to prosecute current cases until Governor John Hickenlooper inks the act, on or before the first week of January, Morrissey appears to be opting for a more cost-effective approach. Earlier this week, DA's office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough said the matter would be discussed in the coming days -- and now, Morrissey has reportedly decided against moving forward with any future pot cases, and will review about seventy others presently in the pipeline.
Of the latter, those that deal with possession of an ounce or less for individuals age 21 and over are expected to be tossed, although some could linger if they're accompanied by additional charges on other matters.
Meanwhile, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel notes that the police department in its hometown has told officers to stop issuing citations for adult possession of weed in amounts that will be legal under the amendment.
In addition, aforementioned sheriff and 64 opponent Hilkey is ready to comply as well, albeit with reluctance of the sort illustrated by Buck. He's quoted as telling the Sentinel, "Whether we go earlier or later, we're all going along with the intent of coming into compliance when the law becomes law."
Continue to read our interview with the ACLU's Judd Golden about the wisdom of dropping pending marijuana cases that would be legal under Amendment 64.