Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Council Won't Let SAFER Pull Initiative

The marijuana interest group that was furious last week because the Denver City Council did not like its initiative is now ticked off that the city won't let the group kill it.

Citizens for a Safer Denver collected more than 10,000 signatures to place an initiative on the November ballot asking voters to make marijuana possession the "lowest law enforcement priority" in Denver.

But Thursday the group offered to spike the initiative if the city would agree not to ticket people for marijuana possession during the 2008 Democratic National Convention and state that pot is less harmful that booze.

So far, there are no takers.

"Absolutely not," Councilman Charlie Brown said. "I think it's a publicity


City officials pointed out that under city rules, Citizens for a Safer Denver has no authority to pull an initiative signed by thousands of residents - despite the fact that the group collected the signatures.

"Just days ago, Denver District Attorney Mitch Morrissey was openly calling for the City Council to keep the initiative off the ballot," said Mason Tvert, who heads the marijuana group. "Now, because city officials live in fear of acknowledging the simple truth that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, they are hiding behind the law rather than accepting our offer to withdraw the initiative."

State law does allow for initiatives to be pulled. But David Broadwell, assistant city attorney, said as far as city laws go, the initiative is past the point of no return. In effect, the group is just a conduit for the thousands of residents who want the initiative.

The City Council on Monday must vote to either send the issue to voters in November or adopt the policy as a city ordinance.

It's the latest odd twist over the initiative. Last week, City Council members - who are overwhelmingly opposed to the change - considered passing the language into law in order to fight it in court.

The Denver Post