Denver Voters Will Decide Whether to Legalize Pot-Smoking

August 2005

It's offical. The Marijuana Policy Project has succeeded in placing an intitiative on the Denver ballot in November that will legalize possession or use of up to one ounce of pot by those over 21 years of age. It may be a symbolic measure, since federal law can pre-empt it, but it's an important measure nonetheless. If passed, Denver will be the second city in the nation where voters have passed such a bill. Oakland, CA is the other city, but the law hasn't yet been enacted due to the conflict with state laws.

"Denver is the biggest city in the nation to consider such a far-reaching initiative like this," said Brian Vicente, an attorney who heads Sensible Colorado, an organization based in Telluride that's spearheading the ballot measure there. "You have other cities, such as Oakland and Seattle, that have passed such initiatives, but Denver is taking it one step further by attempting to make the use of marijuana outright legal." Vicente said his group's ultimate goal is to push for a statewide initiative by 2008 that could require the state to tax and regulate marijuana.

What will legislators do to combat the effect of the measure if it passes? My guess is they will pass a law outlawing all smoking outdoors and in public places, including concert venues. Look what Santa Monica has done. This might be one of those cases where you need to be careful of what you wish for, because it might come true. Then again.....