The district attorney in Colorado's Boulder County announced Wednesday he will dismiss all pending small-time marijuana and paraphernalia possession cases, saying that given overwhelming support for Amendment 64 in Boulder County he would be hard pressed to find a jury to convict.
While Amendment 64 will not go into effect most likely until sometime in January, Garnett said the high level of support for the measure in the county convinced him to begin dropping cases.
"We were already having trouble sitting a jury anyway," Garnett said. "That overwhelming vote total, that's where we get our juries from."
Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner told the Daily Camera that his department would now stop issuing tickets or making arrests for mere marijuana possession of less than an ounce and paraphernalia.
"We will not be issuing any summonses for the offenses cited by the Boulder DA," Beckner said. "We had already told our officers it was a waste of time to issue summonses for those offenses anyway, given the passage of the amendment. We are in a wait and see mode on how the state will regulate sales and possibly use in public places."
Garnett's stance came the same day Amendment 64 proponents called on other prosecutors, particularly Denver DA Mitch Morrisey, to follow his lead.
"A strong majority of Coloradans made it clear that they do not believe adults should be made criminals for possessing small amounts of marijuana," said Mason Tvert, a proponent of Amendment 64. "Colorado prosecutors can follow the will of the voters by dropping these cases today and announcing they are no longer taking on new ones. We applaud District Attorney Garnett for respecting the will of the voters, and we hope his colleagues across the state will follow his lead," Tvert said. "We do not see why District Attorney Morrissey or any other prosecutor would want to continue seeking criminal penalties for conduct that will be legal in the next month or so."
Prosecutors in some Washington counties, where marijuana legalization also passed, have also dropped pending pot possession prosecutions.