Denver Police Commander Says Nice Things About Legal Marijuana — in Ohio

Denver Police Department Commander William Nagle in an interview with a Cleveland TV station. Additional images and a video below.
Denver Police Department Commander William Nagle in an interview with a Cleveland TV station. Additional images and a video below.

The Denver Police Department is hardly seen as a booster of legal marijuana.

The DPD's official policy is to enforce laws in the city and the state, and the department has done so in a manner some critics see as heavy-handed.

Take the raids conducted at marijuana clubs over 4/20 weekend earlier this year — not to mention the 160 arrests at 4/20 events in the wake of a tweet that included the lines, "We see you rollin, but we ain't hatin' HAHA."

Still, there's one high-ranking Denver cop, Commander William Nagle, willing to say nice things about legal marijuana — although he made his comments not in Colorado, but in Ohio.

Right now, an organization called Responsible Ohio is pushing to get Colorado-style marijuana legalization on this November's state ballot, as seen in this photo from the group's Facebook page....

Denver Police Commander Says Nice Things About Legal Marijuana — in OhioEXPAND
Facebook

...and graphics like this one:

Denver Police Commander Says Nice Things About Legal Marijuana — in Ohio
Facebook

As such, the interest in legal marijuana is appropriately high in Ohio right now.

Evidence of this appeal can be seen in an event staged last week at Federated Church in Cagrin Falls by an organization called Chagrin Arts.

Simply titled "Marijuana,"  the forum was described like so: "An officer from the Denver Police Department will present his personal reflections on the effects of the legalization of the sale and use of marijuana in Denver, and a Cleveland Clinic doctor will discuss the use of marijuana from a medical perspective."

Pretty standard stuff in these parts — but apparently not in Chagrin Falls.

The tickets for the address were a pricey $28 a throw, yet here's a look at the attendance, as seen in a report from Action 19 News in the Cleveland area.

The main draw was clearly Nagle, whose LinkedIn page traces his progress through the DPD over the course of more than a quarter-century; he started with the department in 1988.

By 2008, he was a captain and commander of the vice/drug-control bureau. Then, in 2012, he was appointed deputy chief of administration — and the following year, he took over as commander of District 4.

The excerpt from the Action 19 News report features Nagle casually commenting about 4/20 and how thousands of people were "all smoking in public."

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But in a separate interview with the station, he offers a sound bite that almost sounds promotional.

"There's no big catastrophe," he says. "The sun's still up. The industry has been going strong out there. Taxes are being collected."

This sort of pitch hasn't convinced everyone in Ohio that it's time to be kind. The most memorable quote in the Action 19 News piece is from business owner Martha Vucsko, who opposes cannabis legalization.

"We should be teaching our kids about health and fitness," she says. "If they are smoking pot all day, they are just going to get hungry and eat more."

Funny stuff — but not as memorable as Nagle's remarks, which suggest that at least one DPD supervisor is capable of putting legal marijuana in perspective.

Here's the Action 19 News report.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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