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Aurora To Relax Prosecution Of Pot Possession Cases

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Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates (credit: CBS)

Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates (credit: CBS)

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AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – Aurora is joining the list of cities who say they will no longer charge people 21 and older who have small amounts of marijuana, citing the passage of Amendment 64.

Denver and Boulder previously announced they would drop prosecution in those cases.

Aurora police chief Dan Oates sent an email to the department explaining the city attorney has determined once Amendment 64 is effective, all pending prosecutions involving situations that would have been legal under the amendment will be dismissed.

The city attorney’s office believes its prosecutors would not be likely to obtain convictions on cases filed before the law becomes fully enacted and if convictions were reached, it’s likely they would be applied.

Oates also addressed what officers should do if they smelled marijuana during their duties, writing “… a scent is still considered to be an indicator of potential criminal conduct, because marijuana is still illegal to possess outside the boundaries of Amendment 64. You are to be guided by your current training and existing law in using the scent as evidence for further investigation of potential criminal conduct.”

The email also outlines the circumstances when marijuana use is illegal, including by those under the age of 21, selling to those under 21 and possessing too much.

The chief told his officers the law will continue to develop and he will continue to provide more guidance. Oates also plans to institute training sessions in future in-service classes.

Colorado voters approved Amendment 64 which allows adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. The measure becomes law when the governor’s office certifies the November 6 election results. That could happen in December.

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