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Marijuana advocate argues that cops should be allowed to smoke pot

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Jessie Espinoza. More photos below.
As we've reported, a slew of Denver police officers have gotten into trouble lately -- and a number of the incidents, including a brawl apparently spurred by wife swapping, featured alcohol. And that's not to mention assorted busts involving law enforcers and drunk driving.

Could some of these episodes have been prevented if Denver cops were allowed to smoke pot while off-duty as an alternative to liquor? One marijuana advocate thinks it's worth giving a try.

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Mason Tvert during a recent appearance on MSNBC.
"We know that alcohol is a major contributing factor in countless acts of violence -- and marijuana is not typically associated with such behavior," says Mason Tvert, communication director for the Marijuana Policy Project and a prominent proponent for Amendment 64, which lets adults 21 and over in Colorado to use and possess small amounts of marijuana.

"We now allow adults in Colorado to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol if that's what they prefer," he adds. "And that should extend to our law-enforcement officials."

Tvert's proposal was inspired by a recent Denver Post article noting that the Denver Police Department is conducting a review of the DPD's alcohol-abuse policies in the wake of negative PR surrounding several cops -- among them Detective Daniel Diaz de Leon, cuffed for a number of domestic violence-related reasons.

The report also mentions three Denver cops being investigated on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol -- and while the department declined to identify the officers in question, there are plenty of other examples out there. Just last week, for instance, we reported about Officer Aaron Egger, who initially tried to blame a drunk-driving crash on an imaginary friend.

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A photo from Aaron Egger's Facebook page.
Egger is currently on desk duty because he's been ordered not to drive a vehicle without an interlock device that requires a breath sample before it'll start -- and no Denver police cruisers are outfitted with one.

And then there's the case of Officer Jessie Espinoza, who was convicted of driving drunk in 2013 -- and it wasn't his first time. He reportedly has a DUI conviction on his record from 1996, three years prior to joining the DPD. (Current policies wouldn't have allowed his hiring.)

Does Tvert think the DPD would be open to amending its marijuana policies as a way of providing an alcohol alternative? Well, he sent the MPP press release to the department's public information officer and hasn't received a reply. But he feels the time is right to consider this step.

"The department is going to review how it handles alcohol-related problems with its officers and how to address them," he points out, "and part of that review should include examining whether allowing officers to use marijuana could reduce levels of alcohol use."

He doesn't limit this advice to Denver. "If our police departments in Colorado are comfortable allowing their officers to consume alcohol off-duty, there's no logical reason why they should prohibit them from making the safer choice to use marijuana," he maintains. "And if their concern is some sort of state or federal law, they should consider lobbying to change that law in the interest of employees and their safety."

Here's a larger look at Jessie Espinoza's booking photo.

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Jessie Espinoza.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Colorado Crimes archive circa June 11: "Aaron Egger, Denver cop, claims bogus 'good buddy' was driving to get out of DUI bust."


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65 comments
ItsComical
ItsComical

What these people do in private is no one's business but their own as long as they are not harming anyone. Unfortunately, they do not feel the same way about YOU.

Karyl Kochevar Ruck
Karyl Kochevar Ruck

It's legal, he's an adult, but just like alcohol you need to know your limit before you get behind the wheel!

Shawn Van Horn
Shawn Van Horn

HA! I've known a few cops that took my stash. I think the entire police force of Colorado needs to chill the f*ck out. JeffCo, DougCo, Arapahoe, Denver, AdamCo, WeldCo, the whole lot of them.

Barney Dunwell
Barney Dunwell

I couldn't care less what cops do in their free time- or any of you for that matter.

Mark Bromley
Mark Bromley

They already do. Most cities had to put rules in their employee handbooks telling cops and drivers and equipment operators (DOT regs.) and all city employees they can't do Pot and be at work. Only stands to reason. It is a drug that will effect your perspective on things considerably. On or off duty they simply can't do it because it calls anything they do into question. I know here in northglenn the cops do support wanting to do drugs. Then again they do it and they also do many other not so good things. One such situation involved a shooting of a guy that had some connections with weird adult rated off duty events. There are many really messed up cops everywhere you go. In Moab, a good number of the police force was being treated for drug addiction and Alcoholism, spousal abuse and depression by mental health services. How do I know, The cops themselves showed me proof. (None of the info came from anyone with 4 corners.) All of it provided by the local police. But it's more than that, I had inside info simply provided. If you think your Cops are good they are not they are common criminals just like the bad guys. Why it's their job to do mean things to people. You can't live a life knowing you are mean to everyone on the job, but that's what the government wants. Adams county news paper articles stating that is true.

Jay Polo
Jay Polo

Everybody should be able to enjoy it!!

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

And Kyle since I'm not a Dumbocrap & therefore I don't need drugs 24/7, nor am I using my AK's to do mass shootings like Democraps are, why aren't your silly 'Red Flags' causing me to 'Go Democrat' & shoot anyone ???

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Kyle reminds me of the Stupid Arapahoe County Sheriff's Deputy who tried to have me investigated for being a James Holmes 'wannabe' simply because I have a Keith Ledger avatar for my Facebook page, leaving out that I've had Keith Ledger's Joker as my avatar for 5 Years now - WAY BEFORE the Aurora Theater Shootings !!! I really loved making that Deputy LOOK like the ASS he was trying to be !!!

Kyle Williams
Kyle Williams

You probably get so much attention from these people because you are a scary person and your facebook page is full of red flags of someone with mental issues?

Britni Sumpter
Britni Sumpter

Joseph Tee, "pots are dangerous"? Clearly you have no clue what you are talking about.

Britni Sumpter
Britni Sumpter

Of course they should be "allowed to" it's freaking legal! How can they NOT be allowed to? It's just like having a drink off the clock, right? No one is criticized for that.

Joseph Tee
Joseph Tee

Pots are dangerous and will.only cause the coppers to lash out with more beating and pepper spay!

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

And if you doubt me Clayton - call Westword's editor & ask her about my visits by Denver PD, the FBI, ATF, Army CID & Secret Service, including Denver case GS-492135 where I used NRA & ACLU to kick that lying Sack of Shit, Wellington Webb & Denver PD's butt's when my evidence would've put them ALL in JAIL for 'Conspiracy to Commit Perjury" - forcing the flunky Denver City Attorney to drop his 'manufactured bullshit' against me, or GO TO JAIL !!!

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

And I'm not talking about lying on question 11e on the ATF form 4473 used to buy a gun, as stoners will surely lie on that. I'm referring to when a Cop comes in contact with a stoner in a traffic stop, or at a residence (domestic violence call) & sees a firearm & you get charged with the FELONY of a 'prohibited person' in possession of a firearm per 18 USC 922(g) 3 !!!

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

You give your worthless advice every time too - but your advice comes with only your opinion to creatively craft an answer that NO Judge will buy & you'll be NOWHERE to be found if someone listens to you & the Judge sounds the gavel !!!

Justin Kershman
Justin Kershman

If the proper U.A's were done all the way around for employment...anybody should be able to smoke off of work on their own time! Might even help with the dickhead level of the officers in most P.D's and S.O's.

Rockpile Ranter
Rockpile Ranter

Especially while on duty, how good would the donuts taste :)

John Pinnick
John Pinnick

A lot of them already do. They're just hypocrites about it. But, I'm all for anyone else smoking pot if it makes them happy.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Mendacious Mason Tvert should try doing some diet drugs, both off and on the job.



Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

You try that in court, Clayton & let us all know how it turns out, OK !!!

Amber Rae Schultes
Amber Rae Schultes

As long as politicians, judges, lawyers and COPS are allowed to abuse tabbacco, alcohol and caffeine.... Marijuana should be no different. If your a reputable person of any government job, smoking a little on the side shouldn't take away from your legacy.... If you do your job, and do it well.... It shouldn't matter what you do at home.

Heather Quinby
Heather Quinby

Every adult person Gould be able to consume whatever they want; however, certain substances can affect ones ability to do ones job. If anyone uses any legal prescription, alcohol or other consumable narcotics while working there is a problem. If the officer isn't consuming while working then it shouldn't matter.

Daniel Shalik
Daniel Shalik

I do not agree No government worker should smoke pot

Daniel J. King IV
Daniel J. King IV

Until Federal Law is changed - habitual use of #Marijuana makes you a 'prohibited person' under 18 USC 922(g) making possession of firearms & ammunition a FELONY which a Cop could not do & legally keep their job !!! zzz www.ak47world/ammo.html.com zzz

Nickolas Faul
Nickolas Faul

Yes we should all be able to smoke, cops, lawyers, doctors, mechanics, nurses, teachers, pipe fitters, crane operators, etc. Mellow people the fuck out.

Shain Bowman
Shain Bowman

But if you smoke your well over 5 nanograms. How is it fair that we get DUIs if we smoke? We need to change that law before anything else. A new test or something. Smoking and driving is bad yes. But getting pulled over with weed and getting charged for a dui just because they know you smoke or they know they can is not "Legal" I have my red card and it doesn't mean shit to my probation. Still can't smoke. Oh but I can take my vicodin or oxys proven habit forming drugs. If we want to change something why don't we change a real problem... Wake up people this is not Legalization! ! It's them realizing how to make more money.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Get mental health immediately.  You exhibit psychotic symptoms.  Your Obamacare should pay.  Get those crazy voices out of your head, turn off AM 85 and fauKKKs and any of their clones...they are known to cause mental illness. 

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Was that James (R)eagan Holmes?

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

Radical right wing nuts are responsible for more terrorist attacks in this country since 911 that radical conservatives from the middle east.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Simply put, Britni. Thanks for posting.

muhutdafuga
muhutdafuga topcommenter

The urine test industry is a big conservative $$$$ cow.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thanks for the post, Justin. We're going to feature it as an upcoming Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

You make some interesting points, John. Thanks.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

Clayton's an idiot, just another low-information bong-sucking stoner.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

Thoughtful post, Amber. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... so you'd support Cops doing illegal Muscle Building Steroids when not at work, eh?




DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

It it's a habit, it's habitual.


And the Federal Firearm law prohibits UNLAWFUL USERS of Illegal Drugs, including Marijuana, from possessing Firearms or Ammo.


It also prohibits those ADDICTED to ANY Controlled Substance, legal or not, so someone with a Doctor prescribed Oxycontin habit would also be prohibited.



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

... so Cops should be allowed to snort Cocaine, smoke Meth and bang a little Heroin ... as long as they don't do it at work, eh?



GuestWho
GuestWho topcommenter

Good...police should be migrating to non-lethal methods to diffuse hostile situations.  Give them cans of mace and other non-lethal tools instead of guns.

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