Denver residents voted yesterday to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, reports the Denver Post. The state attorney general said the vote was irrelevant because state law will still be enforced. The measure passed 54 percent to 46 percent. “It just goes to show the voters of Denver are fed up with a law that prohibits adults from making a rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol,” said Mason Tvert of Safer Alternative for Enjoyable Recreation, or SAFER. The measure will change the city’s ordinance to make it legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in the city.
Denver follows Oakland, which last year voted to make marijuana possession its lowest enforcement priority and required the city to develop a plan for licensing and taxing the sale, use, and cultivation of marijuana for private use. Voters in Telluride, Co. defeated a similar measure. Denver is “the second major city in less than a year to pass a vote which says that marijuana should be treated essentially like alcohol, taxed and regulated,” said Bruce Mirken of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, one of the largest groups opposing jail time for the use of pot. “This has been characterized as a fringe issue, and clearly it’s not.” Denver police can still bring charges under state law, which carries a fine of up to $100 and a mandatory $100 drug-offender surcharge for possessing small amounts of marijuana.