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City to create panel to oversee latest marijuana measure

6:12 PM, Nov 8, 2007   |    comments
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The measure passed 57 percent to 43 percent.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper plans to create an 11-member panel to oversee and implement the initiative.

The panel will include:

- One at-large member of the Denver City Council
- One representative of the Denver Police Department
- One representative of the Denver County District Attorney's office
- One representative of the Denver City Attorney's office
- Three criminal defense attorneys, one of whom shall be a public defender
- Two residents of the city of Denver, as selected by the petitioner committee that initiated the ordinance
- One drug/alcohol abuse prevention counselor
- One member of the Denver Metro Domestic Violence Fatality Review Committee who is not also a member of law enforcement

"We are glad to see our mayor and city officials will be respecting the will of the voters, and we look forward to working with them toward a more sensible marijuana policy in the city of Denver," said Mason Tvert with SAFER, the group behind the initiative.

Hickenlooper released a statement on Wednesday responding to the passage of the measure that said, "Given that adult possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is already one of the police department's lowest priorities, it is unclear what substantive impact, if any, the initiative's passage will take."

Denver Police Chief Gerry Whiteman also released a statement indicating that people could still be cited for marijuana possession under state law.

"When an individual is cited for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana – as Colorado state law requires – it is generally because the marijuana was uncovered by police during the course of investigating another crime," said Whitman.

"I certainly agree that Denver Police do not target adult marijuana users, but they do continue needlessly citing and arresting them, wasting valuable city resources that could be used to fight violent crime and property damage," said Tvert.

According to SAFER, Denver handled nearly 1,400 cases of marijuana possession last year. Seattle, which has adopted a similar measure and has a larger population, handled just 125.

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