Marijuana decriminalization for people under 21 a happy surprise, advocate says

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Albus Brooks.
Last night, Denver City Councilman Albus Brooks succeeded in getting a majority of his colleagues to support a bill decriminalizing possession of one ounce or less of marijuana for those under age 21.

Brooks stresses that the measure shouldn't be interpreted as a sanction for young people to smoke weed -- a position with which anti-pot activists can be expected to take issue prior to next Monday's final vote. In the meantime, though, one reformer is happily surprised at the passage.

"This is an issue they didn't have to take up at this time, but they chose to anyway," says marijuana attorney Warren Edson. "And it could have a positive effect on kids in this situation in the future, because it will minimize the impact on their lives due to a possession-of-marijuana charge."

Brooks made a similar point in a statement shared on his Facebook page following the council meeting. "Tonight was an important night for leveling the playing field for youth in Denver, although it in no way makes it legal for them to possess or consume marijuana," he wrote, adding, "It's important that we work hard to create systems that allow for justice and reconciliation. Tonight's vote made sure that youth aren't forced to live into adulthood with the mistakes they made as youth."

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Warren Edson.
As Brooks points out, the bill, seen below in its entirety, isn't a license for teens to smoke weed. Indeed, it imposes fines of $150 for a first offense, $500 for second violation and $999 after number three for those between the ages of eighteen and 21 -- adults, yet not covered by the provisions of Amendment 64, which legalized the use and possession of marijuana only for those age 21 and over. However, it states specifically that the offense will be regarded as "non-criminal" in nature.

For those under age eighteen, a line in the bill adds that "any fine imposed may be supplanted by treatment as required by the court."

Given the recent struggle in the council over allowing people to smoke on their front porches (an amendment that eventually supplanted a controversial proposal dubbed a "sniff test"), Edson wasn't expecting the decriminalization bill to sail through quite so easily, "and with all the stuff on their plate, it's nice that they put this front and center and got it done. These offenses can have a real impact on a child's life in the future -- which is why there's been such an outcry for it over the years."

Not that Edson is thrilled with all the council's recent marijuana decisions, including limiting home pot grows to twelve plants. "If the concern is people doing grows improperly and starting fires, or variations on that theme, I'm not sure putting that plant limit on will have any effect," he says. "Often some of the worst grows you see are the ones by beginning guys who have two plants and are using an orange extension cable. I wish these debates would shift to how we can have proper inspections to make sure this is done right instead of putting down a blanket plant count. Supposing there are four people in the house. Supposing there's a medical marijuana patient who needs more than that number of plants to deal with his ailment. What are those people supposed to do?"

Yet even though "we're probably going to kick back at some point and not be entirely pleased with everything that's been passed regulation-wise over the last twelve months," Edson concedes that "it's pretty amazing this stuff has basically come together from scratch. There were people alive when alcohol prohibition ended who remembered what it was like before prohibition began, but there aren't many people alive now who remember when marijuana prohibition didn't exist. There's no formula or laws from pre-1935 that we can use to create this -- so I have to give them some credit for getting all of this stuff done."

Here's the 21-and-under decriminalization bill.

Denver City Council Decriminalization of Marijuana Under 21

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Pot smoking on front porches okayed by Denver City Council, school-related proposal dies."


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30 comments
DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter


Operation Mercury: 400,000 pot plants seized in Central Valley operation

Authorities announced Wednesday an ongoing operation to eradicate marijuana grown on agricultural land in the Central Valley.


Called the “first of its kind,” Operation Mercury has resulted in an overall seizure of more than 400,000 marijuana plants, federal and local officials said. Previous operations targeted marijuana grown on public land, according to officials.

Operation Mercury began in March and is still underway. It involves contributions from the Drug Enforcement Administration, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement-Homeland Security Investigations, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Game, California Department of Justice, California Department of Fish and Game, California National Guard, and detectives and deputy sheriffs from Kern, Fresno, Kings, Madera, Merced and Tulare counties.

More than 100 firearms have been seized and more than 175 people have been arrested in the course of Operation Mercury, according to a joint news release.

“Operation Mercury targeted large-scale marijuana grows operating on the Central Valley’s highly productive farmlands resulting in significant seizures and numerous arrests. 

This operation should send a clear message that marijuana cultivation and distribution remain illegal under federal law,” DEA special agent in charge Anthony D. Williams said in the news release.

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

SOME of those Cops TOOK the Drugs from the Perps & TOLD 'EM to GET LOST & then TRADED the Dope to a former Gun/Drug Dealer for New Guns @ his shop on Parker Rd. - SO MUCH SO that even Ward Lucas of 9NEWS & Brian Maass of CBS 4 Denver heard this too !!!

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay

This is great news for me.  I date the <21 crowd and this combo of weed and amyl nitrate keeps those young puerile pot punks ready for my fist of regulation.

John Scruggs
John Scruggs

It makes sense, since their medical mj friends , who are 18, and getting a red card for insomnia can supply them anyway.

Gabriel J. Gonzales
Gabriel J. Gonzales

I remember being 17 and a cop found weed and a pipe on me and he saw for himself that i wasnt much trouble, not a gangster or tagger... he put the pipe and the weed on the hood of his car and said, and i quote; "im gonna turn my head... and i want you to take your things from the hood of my car and put them away. That shits gonna be legal in a few years anyway. Besides i other shit to do than paper work." Im 32 now... which makes that almost half my lifetime ago. Holy shit time flies.

Bryan Clark
Bryan Clark

they will still find ways to get people caught up in the system thats what they do

Skid Jarrett Gilmore
Skid Jarrett Gilmore

Just a revenue generator via fines/court costs/legal fees, but yeah, at least it doesn't go down on your personal record.

Joshua Allen Pulliam
Joshua Allen Pulliam

Good cause they don't need criminal charges over a plant, thanks for sensible governing. EDUCATE PEOPLE! :)

..Matt...
..Matt...

Too bad A64 didn't simply decriminalize ALL MARIJUANA for everyone instead of continuing criminal prohibition, leaving all felony and misdemeanor marijuana statutes active in Colorado.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

It'll be interesting to see how many people hang onto their cards once recreational sales start. Thanks for posting, Justin.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Terrific story, Gabriel. We're going to share it in an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks.

stuka1
stuka1

Yup, there ARE "Good" cops out there. Lucky you.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Joshua. Much appreciated.

ryan.cordova
ryan.cordova topcommenter

@..Matt... Can always count on Donkey's multitude of fake accounts to spew idiocy in spite of the overwhelming evidence against him.

Where's that "nothing's going to change because of A64" rant now?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@michael.roberts ... since the Prohibitionist A64 explicitly excluded every adult under 21 from ANY LEGAL ACCESS to rec. marijuana -- not a single gram, not a single plant -- leaving all state CRIMINAL statutes in full force against them, everyone under 21 will be forced to continue with the "medical" marijuana charade.


As will those growers and caregivers who exploit the higher plant count loophole available with "medical" but not allowed with recreational.


Also those who want to avoid and evade the HUGE Taxes that A64 authorized be placed upon recreational marijuana.





DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

ryan-TheRetard-cordova ... do you get paid to be stupid, or do you do it for free?

Under Colorado Statute that existed PRIOR to A64, possession of less than 2 (TWO) ounces for ANYONE of ANY AGE -- without an MMJ auth. -- was only a $100 (one hundred) fine, no jail time.

Now Denver wants to REDUCE the possession quantity to 1 (one) pathetic ounce and jack up the $$$ fines to as high as $999 !!

A64 did NOT repeal a single FELONY marijuana statute in Colorado

A64 did NOT repeal a single Misdemeanor marijuana statute in Colorado.

A64 explicitly EXCLUDED EVERY ADULT under 21 from ANY LEGAL ACCESS to rec. marijuana -- not a single gram, not a single plant.

It's a PROHIBITIONIST DREAM -- 100s of NEW REGULATIONS and LAWS, dedicated Pot Cops to enFORCE them, and MILLIONS of $$ in NEW TAXES to pay those Pot Pigs to enFORCE the laws against marijuana users in Colorado.

stuka1
stuka1

@ryan.cordova  He'll just move on to bleating some other hysterical line of shit without admitting his idiocy, as usual. 

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@stuka1 " I know a lot about eating shit, my heads up my ass all day."

Noted.

sucka1
sucka1

@DonkeyHotay "the puerile shiteater"  - you rang?



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@DonkeyHotayFake ... says the puerile shiteater who is so infatuated with me that he not only reads each and every one of my posts, he mimics my username.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Donkeyisstillanass "Do you even realize how sad and pathetic you look ..."


Says the sad and pathetic fucktard who reads each and every one of my posts.


Have another bong-hit, slacker.


Donkeyisstillanass
Donkeyisstillanass

@DonkeyHotay@Donkeyisanass  Do you even realize how sad and pathetic you look to everyone? Do yourself and the world a favor: eat a fucking bullet. Blow your empty little brains all over the wall of your basement. That will bring a little sunshine to everyone's day.


Merry Christmas, you sad sack of shit.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@Donkeyisanass "No one reads your posts anymore, retard."


Yet here you are, reading and replying to my posts.


Suck eggs much?


Donkeyisanass
Donkeyisanass

@DonkeyHotay No one reads your posts anymore, retard. It's obvious that you are a pathetic loser with no life or real relationships and you come here in order to spew your sad little psychodrama in public.


That's all you are, you little douche: a public masturbator.  Grow the fuck up.

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