Denver Judge drops marijuana charge after city passes ordianance allowing possession
In the first challenge to the city's marijuana initiative, a Denver judge decided to drop the case of a man who faced charges of marijuana possession.
Real estate consultant Eric Footer had challenged his ticket because he said after voters passed Initiative 100 last November, having an ounce of marijuana in Denver should be legal for anyone over 21.
Denver police stopped Footer on East 17th Avenue and asked to search his car. Footer thought that since Denver voters approved legalizing marijuana, he wouldn't get into trouble. But police cited him under state rules.
On Wednesday, the judge dismissed the case and said Footer won't have to pay the $200 state fine.
"I'm very pleased that the city and county of Denver decided not to prosecute, or take my case to trial. I see it as a personal victory, but more I see it as a victory for all the people who voted for the initiative, for the I-100 initiative, in Denver," Footer said.
The charges were dropped over concerns over the automobile search. Police could still arrest other people on marijuana charges, under state law, according to the group Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER).
Authorities say the initiative passed in November is virtually meaningless because of state and federal laws that make even small amounts of marijuana illegal.
SAFER is working on an initiative to legalize pot statewide. It needs 68,000 signatures by August to get the initiative on the state ballot for next November's election.
The statewide proposal would get rid of the state's prohibition of marijuana and allow cities to make the rules about pot use -- and therefore make Denver's I-100 more effective.
"Once there is no state law, the city ordinance is what the cities and towns would go by and other places ... would have every right to keep punishing adult marijuana users if they chose to," said Mason Tvert, SAFER's campaign director.