Marijuana: Is Denver adding charges to keep minor pot cases alive after Amendment 64?

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After the passage of Amendment 64, we reported that Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey had called for a review of all pending pot cases that would be legal under the measure, with a bias toward dropping those unaccompanied by additional charges. Now, however, an attorney says a client accused of minor possession has been hit with a new count -- a move he sees as contradicting this policy and wasting resources.

The attorney spoke to us anonymously and asked that we refer to the incident in broad terms for fear that speaking out might negatively impact his client. So, generally speaking, here's what happened.

Several months back, the lawyer says, an adult was cited in Denver for minor possession of marijuana (he's said to have had less than a gram on his person), as well as possession of paraphernalia (a pipe). Because there were no other charges, the attorney and his client assumed the matter would be set aside, since neither of these actions will be against the law once Amendment 64 is signed by Governor John Hickenlooper on or before the first week of January.

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Before long, prosecutors did indeed decide not to pursue these two counts. But because the individual was arrested while smoking in public, a new charge for this offense was added.

The attorney acknowledges that smoking marijuana in public will remain against the law even after Amendment 64 is signed. Indeed, the ACLU of Boulder's Judd Golden highlighted this particular issue in speaking about confusion among the public about what exactly A64 does.

"The public needs to know that Amendment 64 didn't legalize all marijuana-related activities -- and if someone is publicly consuming marijuana, that's still an offense," Golden told us last month. "Now, whether a charge of that nature would have much chance of being successfully prosecuted is another matter. It's hard to know if the public would appreciate the distinction between having a joint in your pocket or a lit joint in your hand, and I'd be surprised if convictions could be gotten very easily in the absence of aggravating circumstances. But even after Amendment 64 is signed, smoking marijuana in public will still be against the law in the same way that you can have a beer in your pocket but not drink it on the street corner."

Even so, the attorney referred to above sees the introduction of a smoking-in-public charge, for which his client was not cited at the time, as violating the spirit of the Denver DA's office announcement.

How does the DA's office respond?

Continue for more about an added charge in a minor marijuana possession case.


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26 comments
stevebeast
stevebeast

well, it is still going to be illegal to smoke in public, he was smoking in public. thats what you get haning out in "public".

PamelaBrown
PamelaBrown

Too many kids will start smoking marijuana because of the laxing of the laws. It would be better if we stick to the simpler things. http://kilos.notlong.com

betweenthelines
betweenthelines

New York has a 'Stop And Frisk' policy.....They search you without cause....Find weed....Arrest you for 'public' consumption...Been doing it for years......I imagine the Denver DA and law enforcement wouldn't need much 'convincing' to conjur up a similar scam.... :)

Justin Jones
Justin Jones

Prop 101 for a safer denver was supposed to eliminate pot possession charges in the city, this guy should have never been cited to begin with!

Daniel Hamilton
Daniel Hamilton

I wouldn't doubt it. DA Mitch Morrissey is just as crooked as his Good Buddy Billy Ritter was. They both have let the illegals go and over charged the citizens!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

 "confusion among the public about what exactly A64 does."

How can there possibly be any confusion?

Is it because the Stoners were too fucking stupid to even read, much less comprehend what the amendment proposed?

Is it because the Lying Liars who promoted A64 just couldn't stop lying to and deceiving the public as to what the amendment would actually do?

Is it because a Lazy and Compliant Media simply regurgitated the LIES and DECEPTIONS fed to them by the Frauds who were promoting A64?

If Stoners aren't pig-ignorant bong-sucking imbeciles, how could there possibly be any confusion?

coloradommjpatient
coloradommjpatient

How DUMB can these people be? We have voted for this over and over again(medical, decrim, lowest priority, a64). Leave cannabis alone! 

Take all of these cases to jury trial. The only way they will learn is through their pocketbook! 

ancientcyberian
ancientcyberian

Besides, if it's dismissed, they can't get a fine (city needs money) or put this guy into "rehabilitation" or "classes" that generate revenue for that industry, so closely tied to the courts.

Cognitive_Dissident
Cognitive_Dissident topcommenter

Haters gonna hate, and enforcers gonna enforce. I'm sure they think they're being "lenient," doing the will of the people and all. What I'm wondering is whether the same guy would have been busted in the first place, if it had been a beer. I know some people may think this is outrageous, but I think public drinking goes unenforced a lot, and I'm not exactly worried about it. In fact, when I moved here quite a long time ago, the AAA guide to local laws said there was no "open container" law here. I considered that quite refreshing, since to have one open and in hand is not to be drunk in public and/or behind the wheel.

After all, there ARE laws for "drunk in public," "public indecency," "loitering," and of course various forms of contempt of cop. I think they've got the fascism thing covered pretty well.

Bob_Smith
Bob_Smith

Now I understand why Mitch Morrissey needs a raise so badly - he's got to work so much harder to screw with pot smokers. 

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

The dude shouldn't have been smoking in public.

weldcountysucks
weldcountysucks

@PamelaBrown This is a total myth kids arent goin to just start smoking pot because its now legal if they want to do it they will no matter the law what you want makes life long felons out of  sum kids whos worst crime theyll ever commit is having a bag a dried flowers this is ignorant,oldfashioned,reefer madness way of thinkin.

Monkey
Monkey

@betweenthelines NY is crazy. You can't even sell a big soda pop, and It's illegal for women to be on the street wearing “body hugging clothing”, but they can be topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business.

D0NKEYH0TAY
D0NKEYH0TAY

@DonkeyHotay LOL you crack me up.  Did you curl up on the floor in the fetal position and cry when it passed?  Bet you laid there kicking your feet for quite some time.  Good Times!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@coloradommjpatient  ... A64 specifically declares that Public Display and Use shall remain illegal.

That's EXACTLY what you voted for, that's exactly what you GOT!

@coloradommjpatient "Take all of these cases to jury trial"

There is NO JURY trial available for offenses where the potential penalty is less than six months in jail.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@ancientcyberian  ... Good thing that the Authors of A64 specifically excluded 10s of THOUSANDS of marijuana users and growers from any legal protection, eh?

Kevins_Mom
Kevins_Mom

@BackOffImStarving as Donkey says stupid stoners are as stupid stoners do.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

"but they can be topless in public"

I ♥ New York

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@D0NKEYH0TAY ... another confused stoner ... who doesn't even know his own identity.

D0NKEYH0TAY
D0NKEYH0TAY

@DonkeyHotay  Good thing citizens can posses an ounce outside of their houise and not worry about police.  Millions of citizens now have protections against arrest for minor possession.  No more feeding the system.

CoreyDonahue
CoreyDonahue

@michael.roberts @Cognitive_Dissident Where is the 6 min conversation between Nixonlooper and the Federal Government. What kind of half ass tabloid do you run? The pulitzer prize was won for watergate coverage because they acted as the public watch dogs. You are a tabloid and you are letting the brass ring of journilism slip through your fingers. But hey at least the cannabis advertizments will keep village voice in the black.

BackOffImStarving
BackOffImStarving topcommenter

@Kevins_Mom At least go big if you're planning on getting caught.  Try hitting the 4-footer on the corner of 13th and Delaware.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@CoreyDonahue @michael.roberts @Cognitive_Dissident 

"But hey at least the cannabis advertizments will keep village voice in the black."

Not so much anymore, ad revenue from The Dope Show is down 80%+ from its peak of just 24 months ago ... WW is back to earning its $$$ the hard way ... via Prostitution and Alcohol.

Remember -- Regulation Works!! ... and thank Westword for spreading that BigGovernment Mantra.

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