Colorado Legalization Leads Boulder DA To Drop Pot Cases

Boulder County District Attorney Stan Garnett is dismissing all pending marijuana possession cases under an ounce, as well as paraphernalia cases for those under 21

If you have an active marijuana possession case pending against you in Boulder, one of Colorado’s most liberal areas, it’s your lucky day.

District Attorney Stan Garnett said he will be dismissing all such cases in Boulder County due to the “overwhelming support” voters gave Amendment 64, which taxes and regulates cannabis similarly to alcohol, reports Mitchell Byars at the Boulder Daily Camera.

“You’ve seen an end to mere possession cases in Boulder County under my office,” Garnett said.

The result will be the dropping of a handful of cases, reports William Breathes at Denver Westword. Although a spokesperson for the D.A.’s office, Catherine Olguin, didn’t have exact numbers on how many cases were being dismissed, she estimated it was no more than half a dozen.
The DA called his decision an “ethical” one, saying the choice to pursue criminal prosecution is driven by whether prosecutors have “a reasonable belief that they can get a unanimous conviction by a jury,” reports Will C. Holden at Fox 31 Denver.
“Given Amendment 64 passed by a more than 2-to-1 margin (in Boulder County), we concluded that it would be inappropriate for us to continue to prosecute simple possession of marijuana less than an ounce and paraphernalia for those over 21,” Garnett said.
According to the Camera, two thirds of Boulder County residents — 66 percent — voted in favor of the measure.
“We were already having trouble sitting a jury anyway,” Garnett said. “That overwhelming vote total, that’s where we get our juries from.”
Last week, prosecutors in Washington state made similar moves, dropping 220 marijuana possession cases in the wake of that state’s voters approving I-502, which will tax and regulate cannabis and allow its sale through state-licensed stores and cultivation by state-licensed grow operations.
Amendment 64 goes into effect statewide in Colorado 30 days after the vote is approved, most likely sometime in January. So far, Boulder seems to be the only city in Colorado to dismiss its marijuana possession cases, although, Westword reports, “we are hearing anecdotal evidence that other counties may be shifting policies, too.”