More than half of Denver voters favored an initiative making marijuana the city’s lowest law enforcement priority, reports the Denver Post. The measure captured about 55 percent of the vote. It requires the mayor to appoint a panel to monitor how marijuana cases are handled by the police and city prosecutors and issue a report. Mason Tvert of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, the group behind the initiative, says the measure was motivated by what he says are overzealous police who continue to cite adults for possessing under an ounce of marijuana despite a law that allows simple pot possession in Denver.
Denver police and prosecutors say possessing marijuana still violates state and federal laws. A spokeswoman for Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper has said that enforcement of laws governing small amounts of marijuana is already a low priority. Similar initiatives passed in Seattle in 2003 and in Missoula, Mt. last year. “These sorts of measures in cities and towns across the country have an unbroken winning streak, and it’s looking like that streak is continuing, and that’s a sign that voters around the country don’t want police time and effort wasted on small-time marijuana enforcement,” said Bruce Mirken of the Washington D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which contributed $30,000 to SAFER.