Pot Charges Dropped: A Victory or a Technicality?

January 2006

SAFER Colorado and the City Attorney's office have differing versions of the dismissal of a marijuana charge against real estate professional Eric Footer. The City Attorney's office says that the charge was dropped on a techicality: the search by the officer was unlawful.

Police and prosecutors said Wednesday they still intend to enforce state laws that forbid marijuana possession, despite the new city ordinance approved in November. Advocates of legalization claimed victory, saying public pressure persuaded prosecutors to drop the case.

SAFER declares the dismissal a victory for I-100, the municipal ordinance violation passed by Denver voters in November, decriminalizing possession by adults of up to one ounce of pot.

Mason Tvert, campaign director for Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER), a non-profit organization, said he believed the city dropped the case because of its media attention, not because of a bad search. "He did give consent, so I don't know how it was a bad search," Tvert said of Footer's incident. "I think they're just caving under the pressure of the people of the city."

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