The voters have passed a law, and now it is up to Denver to enforce it.
Initiative 100, a city ordinance legalizing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults, squeaked by in the Denver elections in November.
But despite this controversial piece of legislation, Denver police are continuing to issue citations to people found in possession of the substance even within city limits.
Under state and federal law, possession of any amount of pot is still illegal. However, Denver voters have chosen to relax enforcement of the substance in their city – the first U.S. city to pass such an ordinance. Law enforcement officials should take that into consideration before wasting about $10,000 of taxpayers' money prosecuting someone for possessing less than an ounce of pot. Compared with about $200 in fines the city would receive for a marijuana citation, the cost of prosecution far exceeds the gain from enforcement.
We are not advocating recreational marijuana use, but we do feel that law enforcement officials and legislators should uphold the decisions of their constituents – the voters and taxpayers. There are larger issues to address in our state than a person carrying a small amount of marijuana. Law enforcement should respect the decision of their voters – the people who pay their salaries – and focus on more important state concerns.