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Marijuana: After Denver Votes to Legalize It, Cops Arrest Even More

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #481)

In November 2005, voters in Denver approved a municipal ordinance legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Denver police and prosecutors refused to play ball, continuing to cite people under the state marijuana law. Now, to add insult to injury, arrest figures from the police department show they are arresting more people for marijuana possession than ever.

SAFER's Chickenlooper activist (photo courtesy SAFER)
With 2,446 misdemeanor pot charges last year, Denver police busted 11% more people for pot in 2006 than they did in 2005. That's less than the increase in the overall number of arrests between the two years, which was up 14%.

But it was still too much for Mason Tvert, who as head of SAFER Colorado led the Denver legalization campaign. "If there's one, it's too many," Tvert told the Rocky Mountain News. "They (police) have the discretion not to arrest." Tvert also pointed out that the city's black population bears the brunt of marijuana law enforcement. Blacks make up 11% of the city's population, but are 32% of those arrested on misdemeanor marijuana charges.

Tvert has led a band of activists on a campaign to embarrass Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper over the arrest figures. This week, the activists have trailed Hickenlooper as he conducted campaign forums called "A Dialogue With Denver." Hickenlooper, who owns the Wynkoop Brewing Company, has so far refused to answer any questions related to the arrest figures, despite being hounded by a man dressed in a chicken suit calling himself "Whine-Coop Chickenlooper" and holding a sign asking "What's So Scary About Marijuana?"

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Anonymous (not verified)

When will the people of this country wake up and smell the coffee? We are living in a "protective" state where the government has run amuck.
As Thomas Jefferson once said, "from time to time the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots."
I fear that time fast approaches.

Fri, 04/13/2007 - 11:53am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

"Hickenlooper, who owns the Wynkoop Brewing Company...."

Now we know why he sees marijuana as a threat, legalized marijuana would cost mayor Hickenlooper some profits!

Fri, 04/13/2007 - 11:55am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

That was my first thought.
You don't have to be consumed by greed to be a politician, but then you would be classed with the minority.
Not all of us are sheep and believe Chickenlooper just because he says the sky is falling.

Sat, 04/14/2007 - 3:44pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

We must empower the people because the people have the answeres to the current neuclear crisis, poverty, corruption, disease, hunger, water crisis, global warming, and almost every other thing that is threatining this existince and/or "wrong with this world". The people will be empowerd when we leagulize all natural medicine's, leagulize equal rights for women, equal rights for altenative life styles,. I will be more empowerd when I will no longer be classified as a criminal when I am simply only a natural drug user. I have to stay extra causious day in and day out so that I dont get busted.

I also have strong convitional belief, based on personal experience, that the Illeagal psycoactive Psilocybe mushroom contains cure all properties across the board. As a natural laughing medicine and with laughing being the best medicine the answere is clear. Psilocybe mushrooms (when applyed to the body along with the necissary respect) will re-align the brain and body in a generative and or regenerative way/condition/treatment. The all mighty Brain already has the potential to generate embrionic stem cells to fix a broad spestrum of conditions and the psilocybe will teach the brain how to do so. I know I see this application very clear . I am carring out a psilocybe campain. I am in the process of organizing a groop of people that have any type of degenerative phyisical and or mental conditons and apply this process with the psilcybe mushroom along with other necissary treatments/procedures to produce epic perportions of healing the mind and body, despite all of the negative propaganda against the psilocybe mushroom. I even firmly believe the psilocybe and or the potential of the brain have all of the right components to even seperate conjoined twins, anycondition is what I mean.

Fri, 04/13/2007 - 4:22pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Personally, I think marijuana is a gateway drug, but so is alcohol and the addicts that I know and deal with everyday (most are in prison) say they started with pot and alcohol and moved on to harder drugs and when I asked them if pot should be legal, they said hell no! I do believe that it should be available by prescription for people who need it for medical reasons.

About 25 years ago, I sold Avon. I went to a house one night to deliver some Avon and there were two cops there, in uniform. One of the cops girlfriends was having a birthday party. I was there for about a half hour. During that time, the cops were drinking and smoking pot. One of them said, "A little Acupulco Gold never hurt anyone". During the time I was there, they got three calls for a domestic violence disturbance and ignorned the first two. The one cop said "I don't want to go there. We could get hurt and laughed". Finally on the third call, they loaded their girlfriends in the car and went to the call. They were all drinking and smoking pot. Denver's finest.

I left and was thankful I didn't live in Denver.

Tue, 04/17/2007 - 1:28pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

I think the gateway drug hypothesis has been refuted pretty thoroughly a number of times. You can demonstrate correlation, but *not* causality. If you don't know the meaning of these terms, look them up and study them until you have a firm grasp on them.

I know that the words of former or current heroin/meth addicts *should* carry weight, but can they honestly say that pot _caused_ them to move on to harder drugs? I doubt it, and I doubt their self-reporting is reliable. In all probability these people have biological and psychological/social problem that have predisposed them for drug addiction.

The opiod fiends I know have SERIOUS pre-existing problems, existential pain that's really tough on them.

What's really ironic is that exactly these kinds of people gravitate with a disturbing regularity towards drug use and the criminal activites present. Why? Because they're already far out and don't feel there's much to lose anyway. So why not dull that pain despite the threat of fine and incarceration? So ironically, the very people most likely to be hooked on opiods, the very people the state is trying to "protect", are the ones _least_ likely to be protected by prohibition.

Look outside the US for a second. The USA is pretty much the world leader in marijuana consumption and abuse, yet you have some of the most draconian laws in Western civilization. Holland is much more laid back on the whole issue, so where's all the addicts in Holland? Well, they're there, but at a much smaller level than in the USA.

If anything social, mental and economic conditions predicts the level of cannabis consumption in a country. Perhaps followed by the sheer idiocy of the propaganda.

Thu, 04/19/2007 - 10:44am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I think marijuana is a gateway drug, then again any drug that you have to go to the black-market to get would be. Just think if you could go to wal-mart and get a bag. You would not have someone pushing other drugs in your face and you would not know where to get harder drugs.

Thu, 04/19/2007 - 11:07am Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

I am 21 years old I do not drink, nor smoke cigarattes unless on very special occasions ( like once a month) I do not do any hardcore drugs such as heroin meth etc.. but i smoke marijuana nearly on daily basis, it has not affected my education I am a honor student at college, I do everything in moderation, before I head to bed, I would smoke a joint with my girl friend and we have something to eat, we listen to some music, talk and we go to bed thats it. so based on personal experiance I believe that marijuana should be treated as tobacco.

Tue, 12/11/2007 - 11:07pm Permalink
Anonymous (not verified)

Marijuana is not a gateway drug

1 - La Guardia Report

2 - Current DEA postings (non-addictive also)

3 - Schaffer Report (Nixon)

4 - McCaffery Report (Clinton)

5 - House of Lords Report (UK)

Anyway, why bother with facts

Sat, 11/08/2008 - 8:53pm Permalink

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