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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Denver City Council Plots Demise Of Pot Initiative


For Immediate Release -- Aug. 15, 2007

Denver Council members blatantly ignore information when considering marijuana initiative

Safety Committee fails to consider merits of initiative; focuses instead on how the City can sidestep voters

Contact: Mason Tvert, Citizens for a Safer Denver,

DENVER -- Denver City Council members used today's Safety Committee hearing on the proposed marijuana initiative to discuss how they can best ignore the will of the voters and needlessly continue arresting adults for possessing small amounts of marijuana.

City Attorney David Broadwell provided a damning and one-sided analysis of the initiative's legal effect, and proponents of the initiative were not allowed the opportunity to rebut the claims.

There was no discussion of how this virtually identical measure has been successfully implemented in other U.S. cities, and a state court decision in California that ruled such "lowest law enforcement priority" initiatives are lawful was brushed aside. There was also no discussion of the letter sent to the Denver City Council from Seattle City Council members explaining how just such an ordinance has been successfully implemented in Seattle.

"The Denver City Council is primarily -- although not entirely -- comprised of closed-minded bigots," said Citizens for a Safer Denver spokesman Mason Tvert. "They are doing everything in their power to directly violate the will of the voters who elected them, and they have made it very clear that when it comes to issues they dislike, they base their public service solely on their personal beliefs.

"Like with Initiative 100 in 2005, the purpose of this initiative is to remove the threat of arrest for adult marijuana use so that citizens are able to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer," Tvert said. "Denver voters agreed this could result in fewer alcohol-related problems in the city and make it safer. This is just a theory and some do not agree, but the same goes for the 'broken windows' policing theory being implemented throughout Denver.

"This Safety Committee hearing should have addressed these safety-related issues," Tvert said. "Yet the council members used the hearing to plot how they would bury the initiative. Some even voiced opposition to holding a public hearing and allowing public comment, and others whined incessantly about having to do their jobs and vote on the issue."

City Attorney David Broadwell had to remind the Council members that they must vote to either enact the initiative or refer it to voters, which prompted Council President Michael Hancock to acknowledge that he violated the City Charter when he abstained from the council vote on Initiative 100 in 2005. His reasoning was that he "has kids," thus he could not vote on a measure pertaining to marijuana enforcement in the city he represents.

(Council members Robb, Linkhart, Nevitt, and Madison were the only ones who demonstrated any willingness to communicate with proponents).

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