from Robert Chase at (720) 213-6497 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Denver Police will try to enforce total ban on public consumption of cannabis
Over a year after Denver voted two-to-one to “regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol”, the City Council still has not instituted a process to issue permits for the public consumption of cannabis and plans a crackdown on Denver’s annual 4/20 Rally against Prohibition instead. “The Constitution does not protect the public use of cannabis, but it does not ban it, either” said Robert Chase of Team420, “Councilor Charlie Brown and our so-called Marijuana Czar Ashley Kilroy, are pretending that the City cannot do what our Constitution says they should do and what a large majority of the People of Denver want them to do – treat cannabis like alcohol”. Denver lets organizations applying for Festival permits also obtain special permits allowing the public to buy and use alcohol there, but maintains a total ban on the public use of cannabis.
While State law now prevents the outdoor sale of cannabis at the 4/20 Rally, there is no legal impediment to Denver issuing a permit for what most who will come, will come to the Rally to do – protest the Prohibition of cannabis by publicly enjoying some. The collision between the reality of Denver’s general acceptance of cannabis and the dogged opposition of its government takes place this April 20, with the mass-citation of attendees at a City-permitted event under an ordinance (38-175(b) of the Municipal Code), which can stand legal review in any court except that of public opinion. The City Administration plans a propaganda campaign to “educate” Denver that no one may so much as expose cannabis to public view in our parks based on the mistaken claim that the Constitution prohibits public use.
The City has gone so far as to demand that the Rally erect signs telling those in attendance not to use cannabis as a precondition of receiving a permit – a clear infringement of its First Amendment rights. “City Council’s unconstitutional ordinance stands against the decision of two-thirds of Denver’s voters, and it cannot dictate what we say at the Rally” said Chase. “The City Council’s intransigent opposition to the will of the voters on cannabis demonstrates just how unrepresentative Denver’s government is”. Chase points to the timing of Denver’s municipal elections in May as one causative factor: “If we change the City Charter to make municipal elections coincide with general elections, we can turn more of the people who live in Denver out to vote for those who will govern Denver, and force municipal politicians to be more accountable to their constituents”, he said.
Unless DPD mounts a major operation inside the Park during the Rally, it will limit itself to picking off those on the fringes – neither signs nor police are likely to deter rally-goers from using cannabis. In an effort to forestall unnecessary confrontation and inappropriate enforcement, the Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers and Team420 have enjoined public officials against enforcement of Municipal Ordinance 38-175(b) and urged them to abide by the stated purpose of Amendment 64, which legalized some use of cannabis in November, 2012. “City Council has wasted an incredible amount of time on the subject of cannabis, yet because it has consistently disregarded the will of its constituents and the Constitution both, we are no closer to having comparable systems of regulations regarding the public use of cannabis and of alcohol than we were a year ago. Do better, now”, he wrote to Denver’s Mayor, City Council, Police Chief, and Czar.