DENVER - The Denver City Council held a public hearing Monday night on a marijuana initiative that asks law enforcement make arresting adults possessing marijuana for personal use their "lowest priority."
Citizens For a Safer Denver is behind the initiative. The group believes that marijuana is safer than alcohol and says Denver should stop wasting time and resources arresting adults who possess a small amount of marijuana. They say this would allow the city to focus on more serious problems and would not cost taxpayers anything.
Critics say this initiative does not really do anything because officers would still have to enforce state and federal marijuana laws.
City council has two options when an organization gathers the appropriate number of signatures for an initiative. They can either enact the initiative or send it to the voters.
Last week when the Denver City Council met, members decided not to enact the initiative. They did decide to hold a public hearing.
Council members will now put the initiative on an upcoming ballot and let Denver voters decide if it's a good idea.
Denver voters have already approved legalizing the possession of one ounce of marijuana. But a statewide amendment on the issue failed last November.
The City Council's meeting began at 5:15 p.m. and was held at the City and County Building.
Citizens For a Safer Denver held a rally outside the building, with a news conference at 5:00 p.m.
If the measure is adopted by Denver voters, it will join Seattle who adopted a similar measure in 2003. The city saw a significant decrease in the number of arrests for marijuana possession the years after it went into effect, according to the Seattle Times. Additionally, The Bay Area Reporter says San Francisco, Oakland and Santa Monica have also adopted similar legislation.