Denver police Reddit "Ask Me Anything" on marijuana highlights
As we've reported, Denver Police chief of staff Lieutenant Matt Murray felt the department's initial Reddit "Ask Me Anything" session went so well that another AMA was scheduled to deal with what was arguably the first one's most popular topic: pot.
The conversation happened yesterday, and it was definitely free-wheeling, veering from subjects like cartels and the war on drugs to restaurant advice and the whereabouts of a certain pot smoker named Kevin. Check out photo-illustrated highlights below.
AMA question: The marijuana business has a lot of involvement from organized crime, particularly Mexican and Central American drug cartels and gangs. How do you see their involvement changing with the new legal climate?
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Also, what steps will you take to protect businesses trying to run ethically from being preyed upon by these criminal gangs?
DPD: Absolutely. It is tough to say what will happen. Some believe cartels will use Colorado to distribute their products from a "legal" state. Others believe it will put the cartels out of business. We will certainly watch and adjust.
AMA question: As to the second part of my question, can you describe what outreach you will do to protect businesses trying to run legitimately from being victims of these gangs through protection and extortion rackets?
DPD: We will offer the same protection as any other business. We have investigated numerous burglaries at Medical Marijuana dispensaries -- just as any other business.
Of course, people HAVE to report for us to investigate.
AMA question: Will there be warnings issued, as opposed to arrests? I'm guessing educating the public about new laws, etc would be better public relations than throwing someone in jail....
DPD: Officers have discretion in most areas of the law. We can cite or warn in a traffic situation, and the officers have the same discretion here. It really depends on the situation.
AMA question: Have you arrested my brother Kevin? I know he smoked a lot of weed in the past and I haven't seen him in awhile. Is there a guy named Kevin in one of your jails?
DPD: Here is the number for the Sheriff Dept (prisoner info). (720) 913-3600.
AMA question: Does this mean that it can be sold in gas stations and such like cigarettes, given they have the right permit?
DPD: It is legal to consume marijuana in a private residence.
Marijuana can only be sold from a licensed facility in 2014. Currently the discussion is more in line with "liquor stores" (marijuana stores) than gas stations.
AMA question: Why was Chief White so eager to crack down on marijuana clubs post-ratification of A64? Was his a knee-jerk reaction? Given that the new regulations put forth by the State Assembly allow for them, have the investigations been dropped? I must say it's tiring when Chief White (among others) are all over the press clamoring for a blank check for marijuana regulation while our existing tax dollars are wasted and unaccounted for. You were recently quoted in the Westword saying, "change the laws and you'll change the way we [law enforcement] reacts." Post-ratification of A64, the reaction by law enforcement interests has been predictable- redundant and repetitive testimony before the general assembly inclined toward prohibition and outright hamstringing of the amendment.
DPD: The Denver Police has not cracked down on marijuana clubs.
AMA question: As someone not from Colorado, I do not know the specifics of Amend. 64, but am curious as to how it extends to the operation of vehicles. For instance, in some municipalities you can be cited a DUI while riding a bike. Does this apply to Colorado for operating say a snow mobile or bicycle?
DPD: It is illegal to operate boats, cars, bicycles, motorcycles, snow mobiles, etc while under the influence (of alcohol or drugs).
AMA question: OK, so as a visitor to the state in 2014 and without a medical card, I can still buy from a licensed marijuana business?
BRB, Planning vacation to Colorado next year....
DPD: Yes, you can. We also have nice restaurants....
AMA question: Restaurants are good, any recommendations?
DPD: Chief White loves Fogo de Chao.
7-11 also has good nachos
HITTING THE ROAD
AMA question: If I am an adult visitor to Colorado, can I buy cannabis for consumption within the state? If so, what can I expect? If not, why?
DPD: Anyone over 21 years of age may possess and consume marijuana while in Colorado.
CAUTION -- Marijuana is still illegal in most states. Do not transport out of state.
WAR ON DRUGS
AMA question: Do you think CO has come to the right conclusion on marijuana policy?
DPD: The Denver Police Department does not consider there to be a "war on drugs." That saying comes from Federal politicians in the 1980's.
The majority of MARIJUANA enforcement performed by the Denver Police is initiated by citizen complaints.
PERSONAL POT EXPERIENCE
Lieutenant Matt Murray.
AMA question: Have either of you ever smoked pot?
DPD: Nope (nerd).
AMA question: In states without marijuana leniency, do police officers still show discretion? For example, if I (as an adult) am caught with a small amount (under a half ounce) and do not drive while high/cause a disturbance or smoke it publicly. Will most police officers let me off the hook as long as I am honest and treat them with respect?
DPD: Don't know -- legal here...
You will always fare better with police if you are polite and respectful.
AMA question: What are the current values of the Denver Police to protect State Jurisdiction vs. Federal Jurisdictions, & is it true that the Federal Raids of local growers are making arrests to better control products & revenue for Companies like Marlboro?
DPD: No. We are not in the business or in partnership of protecting any certain company.
AMA question: Will previously convicted people of charges relating to this law be released early or have their punishments reduced?
DPD: In jail? That is an issue for the courts.
AMA question: How do you determine if someone is under the influence or within legal limits? Will you be judging this by appearance, or reaction? I mean, I know quite a few goofy-acting people who are as sober as a nun....
DPD: Traffic? We do roadside tests to determine impairment. It could also be based on how you were driving etc. This is settled law (DUI).
YO -- DON'T BREAK THE LAW
AMA question: Now, this question is for people under 21 but over 18. I am looking to go to Colorado with a friend of mine in a few weeks. We will obviously be using marijuana. However, while he is over 21, i am just almost 20. If I am driving can he keep the weed in his bag and if we are pulled over no one will get in trouble? Or will it count as being in my possession and i go to jail? Also, even though i realize I will be technically breaking the law by using marijuana there, would i get in a heap of legal trouble from just smoking with someone else out in nature or private places and stuff like that? Is this mostly up to officer discretion?
DPD: YO -- Don't break the law. We are the cops!
Don't keep marijuana in a common area (like in the vehicle). Keep it on his person and you won't have an issue.
What kind of car will you be driving? License? :-)
FEDERAL V. STATE
AMA question: What sort of interaction have you had with various federal agencies on this issue? Have said interactions been hostile/threatening in nature, or is there more a desire to find an amicable resolution?
DPD: We work with numerous Federal agencies and have a good relationship. There has not been a decision about Marijuana federally (in light of Colorado and Washington State).
More from our Tech archive: "Reddit AMA with the Denver Police: SWAT, LoDo let-out and more."
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