Sunday, October 30, 2005

Denver to vote on making pot legal

Chicago-Sun Times

DENVER -- The nickname Mile High City could soon have an entirely new meaning.

Denver voters will decide Tuesday whether to make it legal for adults to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Seattle, Oakland, Calif., and a few college towns already have laws making possession the lowest law enforcement priority.

Supporters in Denver have launched a ''Make Denver Safer'' campaign that contends that the change will help curb domestic violence.

''There's no doubt that if people choose to use marijuana instead of alcohol we would not have the same number of problems,'' said Mason Tvert, the 23-year-old campaign organizer.

Cops could file under state law

The argument has angered local officials.

''It's a deceptive and deceitful campaign,'' Councilman Charlie Brown said. ''Domestic violence is not on the ballot. Alcohol is not on the ballot. Marijuana is on the ballot.''

A ''yes'' vote probably won't make much difference. The city attorney's office said Denver police will simply file marijuana possession charges under state law, which carries up to a $100 fine and a mandatory $100 drug-offender surcharge.

Critics of the ballot measure are wary of what a ''yes'' vote might do to Denver's reputation.

''People will flock to Denver to use marijuana,'' said Jeffrey Sweetin, head of the Rocky Mountain Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.


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