Denver prosecutors to stop filing new charges in minor pot possession cases

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DENVER — The Denver District Attorney and the city attorney have agreed there will be no new charges filed in cases where someone over the age of 21 is carrying less than an ounce of marijuana.

Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 which legalizes possession of a small amount of marijuana for people over 21. Voters in the state of Washington passed a similar measure.

There are currently 70 cases pending in Denver where someone is accused of possessing a small amount of marijuana. The DA asked the city attorney who handles these cases to review all 70 of them for possible dismissal according to District Attorney’s office spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

This doesn’t mean someone who is currently charged does not have to show up for court. Kimbrough says a person who has a pending case must appear in court where the status of that individual’s case will be determined.

The Boulder District Attorney has said such cases will be dismissed and the police department won’t make any more arrests.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has repeated a request for a federal response to the marijuana legalization vote. His letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says Colorado needs a response as soon as possible about how the Justice Department plans to handle the vote.

Marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal law and there has been no indication yet whether the Justice Department will sue to block new laws legalizing marijuana.

Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck released a statement Thursday regarding his jurisdiction’s stand on Amendment 64.

“Our office has an obligation to prosecute offenses that were crimes at the time they occurred. Accordingly, we will not be dismissing existing marijuana possession cases. But more importantly, our office prosecutes low-level possession cases to get drug users help with their addictions. That practice will continue until state law changes.”