The Effect of Denver's New Pot Laws

March 2008

In November, 2007, Denver voters passed an ordinance directing local police to make marijuana possession its lowest law enforcement priority. This was the second pot initiative approved by Denver voters. In November, 2005, they passed an ordinance allowing adults to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. So, have arrests gone down? Not quite:

Mason Tvert, a proponent of the marijuana initiatives, said that 1,600 adults faced charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession in 2007, an increase of 18 percent from 2006, an increase of 36 percent from 2005 and an increase of approximately 50 percent from 2004.

The 2007 law required the creation of a review panel to "monitor arrests and citations." Denver's Marijuana Review Panel is up and running, and holding a meeting today at 3:30 in the third-floor law library of the Denver City and County Building. Among the topics to be addressed: the increase in arrests since the passage of the two laws.

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