Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett dropping some marijuana cases after Amendment 64

BOULDER, Colo. - The district attorney for Boulder County said the 20th Judicial District will start dismissing some minor marijuana cases because of the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado.

"The 20th JD DA's office will dismiss all pending possession of MJ less than an ounce, and MJ paraphenalia [sic] cases, for defendants over the age of 21," Stan Garnett said on his Facebook page.

"The standard for beginning or continuing criminal prosecution is whether a prosecutor has reasonable belief they can get a unanimous conviction by a jury, he told 7NEWS on Wednesday.  "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."

However, Garnett said the office will continue to pursue cases involving driving under the influence of marijuana and those under 21 who are in possession.

"Those continue to be a real high priority," Garnett said. "We will continue to come after those cases very hard." 

"You've seen an end to mere possession cases in Boulder County under my office," Garnett told the Boulder Daily Camera newspaper. "We have enough serious crimes in Boulder County, and we will focus on those."

Boulder police Chief Mark Beckner said in a previous interview with the Camera that his department would also stop issuing tickets or making arrests for mere possession.

"We will not be issuing any summonses for the offenses cited by the Boulder DA,"  Beckner said. "We had already told our officers it was a waste of time to issue summonses for those offenses anyway, given the passage of the amendment."

Amendment 64 will allow adults over 21 to possess up to an ounce of marijuana. It also would allow people to grow as many as six marijuana plants in private, secure areas.

Amendment 64 organizers said the new law will make authorities regulate marijuana like alcohol. It removes criminal penalties for possession and establishes a system of regulated and taxed marijuana products, and allows for the legal cultivation of industrial hemp.

However, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said Coloradans should know that the U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognized the federal government's ability to criminally sanction possession, use and distribution of marijuana, even if grown, distributed and used in a single state.