Boulder County DA Dismissing Marijuana Cases Post-Amendment 64

That in a brief statement today on Boulder County DA Stan Garnett’s Facebook page:

Amendment 64 passed in Boulder County, 66%-33%; accordingly, the 20th JD DA’s office will dismiss all pending possession of MJ less than an ounce, and MJ paraphenalia cases, for defendants over the age of 21. Cases of driving under the influence of MJ (or any other drug, including alcohol) remain a top priority.

It’s the first such move in Colorado, coming after a number of prosecutors in Washington state took similar action in the wake of that state’s passage of Initiative 502. In response to questions from John Schroyer of the Colorado Springs paper, Garnett says he’s not waiting:

Gazette John Schroyer: Does this mean you’re dismissing them starting now? Today? Or does “will dismiss” mean starting once Gov. Hickenlooper signs the amendment into the constitution?

Stan Garnett: Immediately, John. My senior staff and I have concluded that we have no reasonable likelihood of securing a unanimous jury verdict of guilty on such cases, which is the ethical standard that applies to commencing or maintaining a criminal prosecution in Colorado.

We expect Garnett’s action will not be the last, but it’s the first real action taken after passage of Amendment 64 we know of. Politically, it’s a bold move for Garnett to be the vanguard on this issue, but it could pay significant dividends. We recall Garnett’s run for Attorney General in 2010, and it’s a good bet he’ll endear himself to lots of statewide voters by being the first Colorado prosecutor to put Amendment 64 into practical effect–dropping marijuana possession charges on the grounds that convictions are no longer possible (or appropriate).

Perhaps it will incentivize Gov. John Hickenlooper to grow some spine of his own.

10 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

    This needed to be done.  Once again, 64 has nothing to do with getting high, we will do that with or without legalization.  A64 is about destroying lives with arrests over possessing pot.

    How many juries in Colorado will vote guilty in ANY pot trial?  It is now a waste of your tax dollars to prosecute.

    • Tom says:

      Drug warrior prosecutors may be forced to find other means to nail users of the devil weed, depending on how judges start ruling on possession cases. I’m thankful for reasonable DAs like Garnett who aren’t suiting up for a big fight on this.

  2. Canines says:

    They were beginning this process days ago:

    King and Pierce County prosecutors are dismissing more than 220 misdemeanor marijuana cases in response to Tuesday’s vote to decriminalize small amounts of pot.

    In King County, 175 cases are being dismissed involving people 21 and older and possession of one ounce or less. I-502 makes one ounce of marijuana legal on Dec. 6, but King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg decided to apply I-502 retroactively.

    Still, glad to see the process starting here in Colorado. Good deal, Stan Garnett!

    • Aristotle says:

      and their governor is leaving office and didn’t take as strong a stand against it.

      Maybe Garnett needed to make a few behind the scenes moves in order not to make waves with the governor. Just speculating there, but it seems that Hickenlooper kind of set the tone election night, so some politicking had to occur.

      Or, maybe none of the DA’s in the state had fully prepared for the contingency, like King County’s DA must have, so it took a bit longer for Garnett to make sure he could go ahead.

      Just a couple of ideas.

      Also, I’m with JeffcoBlue. Garnett for AG!

  3. JeffcoBlue says:

    Way to take a stand, Stan.

  4. Whiskey Lima Juliet says:

    The declaration by the leaders of Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Costa Rica did not explicitly say they were considering weakening their governments’ efforts against marijuana smuggling, but it strongly implied the votes last week in Colorado and Washington would make enforcement of marijuana bans more diffiicult.

    ….impact of the Colorado and Washington votes and said the United Nations’ General Assembly should hold a special session on the prohibition of drugs by 2015 at the latest.

  5. ProgressiveCowgirl says:

    Force the Governor to take a stand on something!

    Now if he could run a campaign like he runs a DA’s office, we’d be set for 2014.

  6. thiokuutoo says:

    Stan would make a good governor or senator.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.