DENVER - A city panel in charge of overseeing marijuana possession crimes in Denver recommended on Wednesday that the fine for possession be set at $1.
If Denver's presiding judge accepts the recommendation from the Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, the fine would be the lowest in the entire nation for marijuana possession.
The panel was created by Mayor John Hickenlooper in December 2007 after voters passed an ordinance that made it so adult marijuana possession is the city's "lowest lawn enforcement priority."
In May 2008, the city attorney's office made it so those cited for the crime can mail in their fines instead of having to appear in court. At that time, the city attorney's office assigned the value of the fine at $50.
"By setting the fine at just $1, we are sending a message to Denver officials that the era of citing adults for using a less harmful drug than alcohol is over. It's simply not worth the city's time or resources," said panel member and SAFER Executive Director Mason Tvert, who coordinated the successful Denver marijuana initiatives.
Lt. Ernest Martinez with the Denver Police Department is also part of the panel and voted against lowering the fine.
"There's no indication that there's a problem with the fine schedule," Martinez said. "The panel is going outside the bounds of the language of the ordinance."
Martinez thinks there should be more dialogue about the changes.