Stuff I think you should know

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Relief in pot enforcement

Telluride Colorado is a nestled town in the San Juan Mountains, home to moneyed hippies, artists and nature buffs, Telluride is a live-and-let-live kind of town. In August, the Town Council voted 6-0 to put the issue on the Nov. 1 ballot. Residents will be asked whether to instruct town marshals, the local law enforcement, to make the investigation, arrest and prosecution of marijuana possession their lowest priority. The proposal applies only to the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana by people 18 or older.

Several cities already have what proponents term "sensible" pot ordinances, most notably Seattle, where voters in 2003 approved an initiative to make the possession of small amounts of marijuana law enforcement's lowest priority. Still, Telluride's vote will be closely watched, experts said, because it is the first marijuana ballot proposal since the Supreme Court ruled in June that the federal government could enforce its zero-tolerance policy on pot, even in the 10 states that permit its use for medical purposes. Colorado is among those states; the others are Alaska, California, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.

Executive Director Allen St. Pierre of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws said the fact that the Supreme Court did not strike down the state laws seemed to suggest "concern by justices about thwarting local control, local values."
"The great disconnect at the policy level is here in Washington, D.C.," he said. "Congress is frozen in a sort of reefer madness that states and localities are not."


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