Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett has instructed his prosecutors to drop a handful of cases involving possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, as well as paraphernalia charges, for anyone over the age of 21.
The reason: the passage of Amendment 64, which has yet to be signed into law, but is expected to be inked soon.
Last week, prosecutors in Washington state made similar moves, dropping some 220 marijuana possession charges in the wake of the state's voters passing a legalization initiative in that state, as reported by Toke of the Town's Steve Elliott.
Although Boulder District Attorney spokeswoman Catherine Olguin didn't have any exact figures on how many cases were being dismissed, she guessed it was no more than a half-dozen. But that's a half-dozen cases the DA's office now won't have to expend resources to investigate -- and no state funds will be used in prosecuting them, either.
Up next, the police need to get on board and stop writing citations for these matters in the first place. And there are signs that that is happening as well. A Denver police representative tells us the department is waiting until the amendment is signed by Governor John Hickenlooper before making any policy shifts, but noted that the DPD is "very much aware" that changes will likely be coming.
So far, Boulder seems to be the only municipality to make such a move officially, although we are hearing anecdotal evidence that other counties may be shifting policies, too. Attorney Sean McAllister announced this morning that he was still "on Cloud 9" after having charges dropped against a client in Jefferson County earlier this week. "His weed, pipes, joints RETURNED to him from the state patrol," McAllister wrote in a Facebook post.
A rep from the Denver District Attorney's Office says personnel are starting talks this week on the issue. We also heard back from Jefferson County DA spokeswoman Pam Russell, who tells us her office is not dropping any cases yet. "The Governor has thirty days to certify the amendment," she writes. "We will revisit where we are at that time. There will likely be discussions and training about this change, but at this point, we are not changing anything."
Officials with Adams, Arapahoe and El Paso counties have not yet returned calls. We'll update this post if/when they do get back to us.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Rachel Maddow links Amendment 64 confusion to end of alcohol prohibition" and "Marijuana: Mexico sees Amendment 64 as way to moderate its pot policy, analyst says."
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