Denver could soon see a maximum $1 fine -- the lowest in the country -- for simple marijuana possession. The city's Marijuana Policy Review Panel voted 6-2 Wednesday to recommend that the city do just that.
In May 2008, the city attorney's office set the fine for possession at $50 and arranged for payment to be made by mail instead of at a court appearance. Now it will be up to the city's presiding judge to decide whether to go even further and set the fine at $1.
"By setting the fine at just $1, we are sending a message to Denver officials that the era of citing adults for using a less harmful drug than alcohol is over. It's simply not worth the city's time or resources," said panel member and SAFER executive director Mason Tvert, who coordinated the successful Denver marijuana initiatives.
A Denver Police Department representative on the panel unsurprisingly voted against the proposal. "There's no indication that there's a problem with the fine schedule," said Lt. Ernesto Martinez. "The panel is going outside the bounds of the language of the ordinance."
But, in a sign of the times, Martinez appears to be the one out of step with the panel and public opinion in the Mile High City.