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Victory, At Least for Now: Lafayette City Council Withdraws Harsh Marijuana Ordinance Pending Further Study

Submitted by David Borden on
bulletin from the city of Lafayette: City Withdraws Ordinance Ordinance No. 06, 2007, which amended Section 75-41 and 75-42 of Lafayette's Municipal Code regarding the maximum penalties for possession of cannabis (marijuana), has been withdrawn. City staff and City Council have determined that more information and analysis are needed on this matter, and it will be the subject of a Council Workshop Meeting on April 3. If and when the ordinance is brought forward after the workshop City Council's process for voting on the ordinance will start from the beginning, with votes required at two separate Council Meetings. The April 3 City Council Workshop will be held at City Hall, Council Chambers, 1290 South Public Road, at 5:30 PM. The workshop meeting is open to the public and will be broadcast live on Cable Channel 8. also, a press release from SAFER about it: PRESS RELEASE For Immediate Release -- Feb. 16, 2007 Lafayette City Council withdraws bid to increase marijuana penalties Officials reconsider drastic and unnecessary ordinance in light of strong public opposition Contact: Mason Tvert, SAFER executive director, 720-255-4340 DENVER -- The Lafayette City Council has withdrawn a municipal ordinance that would have drastically and unnecessarily increased the fine for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The proposed measure would have increased the fine for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana from a maximum $100 fine and no time in jail -- as called for under state law -- to a maximum $1,000 fine and up to one year in jail. Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), along with the ACLU of Colorado, the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition, and Sensible Colorado, coordinated a strong grassroots response in opposition to the proposal, which the council initially approved at its Feb. 6 meeting. According to a statement on the Lafayette City Council's Web site (see below or News.asp?NewsID=1466), "City staff and City Council have determined that more information and analysis are needed on this matter." The measure came at the behest of a Lafayette municipal court judge and was introduced by Lafayette police. Proponents failed to provide any evidence supporting the stated intent of the ordinance, and no public support was demonstrated for such heightened penalties for simple marijuana possession. A majority (53.2 percent) of Lafayette voters and an even larger majority (55.5 percent) of Boulder County voters approved Amendment 44 last November, which would have removed all penalties for adult possession of less than one ounce of marijuana. "We are very pleased that the Lafayette City Council has withdrawn this drastic and unnecessary measure," said SAFER Executive Director Mason Tvert. "We appreciate their responsiveness to the concerns of Lafayette and Boulder County citizens, and we look forward to serving as a resource for accurate information on marijuana at the council's public workshop on this issue in April." "Every objective study on marijuana has found it to be less harmful than alcohol to both the user and to society," Tvert said. "There is simply no justification for penalizing adults so severely -- if at all -- for making the safer choice. Colorado's criminal justice system is already overwhelmed and Boulder County's jail is full, so there is no sense in further cluttering either of them with adults doing nothing more harmful than having a couple cocktails. "
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