Denver Police schedule Reddit "Ask Me Anything" about marijuana

Last week, following a Twitter debate about plagiarism with members of the media, the Denver Police Department took part in its first-ever Reddit AMA, meaning "Ask Me Anything." The online conversation featured a large number of questions about marijuana -- so many that the department has scheduled another Reddit AMA for 1 p.m. Monday, August 26, to deal exclusively with that topic. DPD chief of staff Lieutenant Matt Murray, who led the first session, will take part again -- but this time, he's found a ringer.

"I'm not an expert," Murray says. "So to make sure people get good, solid answers to their questions, I'm bringing an expert: Sergeant Andrew Howard, who's been running our marijuana team for years and years."

Murray felt the department's first AMA was a positive experience. In his words, "we really liked it. We thought it was a good exchange; we liked the forum and the ability to be casual when answering. I think people were surprised we weren't just giving canned answers. Some of them weren't so polite, but for the most part, the other people moderated the room, so I didn't even have to.

"It was exactly an hour, and it actually takes a lot more energy than people think," he adds. "I just went straight down the list and answered as quickly as I could."

Lieutenant Matt Murray.
Lieutenant Matt Murray.

Was Murray caught off-guard by so many questions about pot?

"I wouldn't say I was surprised," he replies. "We know that's a hot topic, and not just in Colorado. There are people all over the country interested in what's going on here and what the rules are. And because of the number, we thought it was important to make a session just on that topic."

As before, Murray promises that he and Howard "won't duck any serious questions," and as evidence, he didn't balk at a left-field one of ours -- about the Seattle Police Department handing out Doritos affixed with a driving-safety sticker at a recent hemp festival. Did this strike Murray as inappropriate -- not in keeping with the serious tone the Denver Police usually strikes when it comes to pot?

"No, not at all," Murray responds. "I think it's a clever idea. There's this longstanding perception that the police are anti-this or anti-that. But really what we are is pro-law. Change the law and we'll change the way we react.

"We're not anti-marijuana," he emphasizes. "But the flip side of that is, there are still a lot of regulations and laws around the use of marijuana, and it's our duty to enforce the law.... People believe that just because they read a couple of sentences in a law, they know what it is -- but a law isn't settled just because you think it is. Look at the Second Amendment: Both sides can say, 'This clearly means this.' There's a lot of nuance and interpretation."

Again, the Reddit AMA is slated for Monday, August 26, at 1 p.m. For more information, follow the Denver Police Twitter account.

More from our Tech archive: "Reddit AMA with the Denver Police: SWAT, LoDo let-out and more."

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