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.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Marijuana Review Panel

DENVER – In response to the passage of Initiated Question 100 on Tuesday, the city plans to create a Marijuana Policy Review Panel to make sure that adult marijuana possession is the city's lowest law enforcement priority.

The measure passed 57 percent to 43 percent.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper plans to create an 11-member panel to oversee and implement the initiative.

The panel will include:

- One at-large member of the Denver City Council
- One representative of the Denver Police Department
- One representative of the Denver County District Attorney's office
- One representative of the Denver City Attorney's office
- Three criminal defense attorneys, one of whom shall be a public defender
- Two residents of the city of Denver, as selected by the petitioner committee that initiated the ordinance
- One drug/alcohol abuse prevention counselor
- One member of the Denver Metro Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee who is not also a member of law enforcement

"We are glad to see our mayor and city officials will be respecting the will of the voters, and we look forward to working with them toward a more sensible marijuana policy in the city of Denver," said Mason Tvert with SAFER, the group behind the initiative.

Hickenlooper released a statement on Wednesday responding to the passage of the measure that said, "Given that adult possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is already one of the police department's lowest priorities, it is unclear what substantive impact, if any, the initiative's passage will take."

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whiteman also released a statement indicating that people could still be cited for marijuana possession under state law.

"When an individual is cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana – as Colorado state law requires – it is generally because the marijuana was uncovered by police during the course of investigating another crime," said Whitman.

"I certainly agree that Denver Police do not target adult marijuana users, but they do continue needlessly citing and arresting them, wasting valuable city resources that could be used to fight violent crime and property damage," said Tvert.

According to SAFER, Denver handled nearly 1,400 cases of marijuana possession last year. Seattle, which has adopted a similar measure and has a larger population, handled just 125.

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