Lacy Lee moments after being grabbed May 1 by a Denver cop for holding a joint — during a pro-pot march. The offense carries a $100 fine, but cops were unable to come up with the joint in question. Case dismissed!
Denver cops gave Lacy Lee a shakedown at a pro-pot rally on May 1, cited her, and spent thousands of dollars to prosecute her as the case moved through the court system. Cops had to take paid days off to appear in court — for an offense carrying a maximum fine of $100.
That was absurd enough, as pointed out by Michael Roberts at Westword. But things got even sillier Thursday, when the city dropped the case because it had no joint on hand to support the charge.
“We are very happy the City of Denver has dismissed the case,” said attorney Rob Corry, who felt the case was so outrageous, especially given a video of the incident (see below), that he agreed to represent her pro bono.
“It just goes to show that if you stick to your guns, you can sometimes prevail in the world’s most pot-friendly city — at least as far as the voters are concerned,” Corry said.
Denver voters, of course, approved medical marijuana in 2000 along with the entire state, but they didn’t stop there. Residents of the Mile High City voted to legalize cannabis in 2004 and again in 2006, and de-prioritized marijuana enforcement in 2008.
“They didn’t just make it a low law enforcement priority,” Corry pointed out. “They made it the lowest law enforcement priority.”
But despite all this, two members of the Denver Police Department — which has generally avoided making mass arrests during pot rallies — decided to zealously enforce the law, as it were, by writing Lee a citation for the joint she held.
But the officers apparently failed to collect the alleged joint in question, which Lee said had been passed to her by an unknown person.
“The deputy city attorney handling the case told me the reason they dismissed it is because they didn’t have any actual marijuana to use as evidence,” Corry said.
“The fact that the arrest happened at a march protesting the wasteful policies of the city arresting people for simple possession is pretty absurd,” Corry said. “And in a way, the police proved our point by issuing the citation — that it is a waste.”