Denver voters will decide this fall on a ballot initiative that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana the “lowest law enforcement priority” of Denver police, the City Council decided last night, reports the Rocky Mountain News. Most council members oppose the measure, but a pro-marijuana group forced their hand after gathering enough signatures to put it to a vote. “A number of us will be voting to put something on the ballot we won’t be supporting ourselves,” said Councilwoman Jeanne Robb.
The group SAFER, sponsors of the ballot initiative, also authored a successful 2005 ballot initiative that legalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults in Denver. State law, however, still prohibits marijuana use, and Denver police continue to arrest people for possession. SAFER hopes the proposed ordinance will change that. City officials were stunned by the success of the 2005 initiative and they’ve vowed to fight SAFER’s latest effort. Mayor John Hickenlooper and most other elected officials are expected to campaign against the proposal. “Alcohol contributes more to death and destruction than any other substance,” said a SAFER spokesman. Opponents “are alcohol users opposed to people using a different drug.”