By Kelly Werthmann

DENVER (CBS4) – Marijuana may be legal in Colorado, but the Denver Police Department is confiscating more weed than they ever have before.

“Prior to the legalization with Amendment 64, we received small quantities of marijuana, maybe a couple ounces or a few pounds,” said Lt. Cliff Carney, who manages the evidence and property section for the department. “After 64, we’re seeing huge seizures the come in. We’ll get sometimes 300 to 400 boxes of marijuana at one time on one seizure.”

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Denver police are confiscating so much marijuana that Carney told CBS4 they are running out of space to store it. There are two storage rooms at the department’s headquarters downtown, but they are quickly filling up with processed pot, plants and other evidence.

“We’re dealing with what we have,” Carney said. “We have a pretty good turnover so we don’t have to keep it forever, but we have to have a place to store it and process it to get rid of it.”

Lt. Cliff Carney (credit: CBS)

Lt. Cliff Carney (credit: CBS)

In an effort to fix the problem, Denver police is asking the city for a little more than $125,000 to hire additional staff and purchase more shelving.

“We’ve asked for more staffing to facilitate the property in the lab and composting facility,” Carney said. “We’ve asked for more storage devices to hold (the marijuana). We’ve already got money in the budget to compost, which is saving us quite a bit of money.”

According to Carney, DPD is among the first departments to compost illegal marijuana plants, after the court approves the disposal.

(credit: Denver Police)

Mold grows on marijuana (credit: Denver Police)

Confiscated plants don’t have a long shelf life and tend to start molding within a week or two, Carney explained. Marijuana that is processed and packaged can be kept for a longer period of time or returned to the person it was taken from, depending on what the courts determine to do with it.

As for why authorities are seizing more marijuana now than before it was legal, Carney said he can only speculate.

“Because it is now legal in certain quantities, people nowadays believe they can exceed those quantities and there’d be no prosecution, that it’s not criminal,” he said. “We used to see 15 to 20 plants at a time being seized at a small grow, now we’ll see it in the hundreds, even thousands at warehouses.”

Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team in 2012 as the morning reporter, covering national stories like the Aurora Theater Shooting and devastating Colorado wildfires. She now anchors CBS4 Weekend Morning News and reports during the week. Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter @KellyCBS4.

Comments (76)
  1. Thanks for finally writing about >Denver Police Running
    Out Of Space For Confiscated Marijuana � CBS Denver <Liked it!

  2. silly2 says:

    I could help you out with that.

  3. Elisi Newell says:

    Marijuana should be as legal as roses or carrots. If people are still being arrested, it is not legal.


  4. Lawrence Monroe says:

    Turn it into medicine after testing it for purity. For less than a penny a dose they could help a lot of indigent people. How I got that number, wash the entire plant, shred the entire plant. test it for unacceptable poisons with a gas chromatograph and then use a rice cooker and alcohol. A gallon of the cheap stuff runs $4 the gas chromatograph machine would cost $1,500, the rice cooker $39, and the pot is free. the first 500 would cost three dollars a pill, the rest would be literally less than a penny or pennies depending on the quality of the plants.

  5. Gene Evensen says:

    Why are they Confiscating Marijuana if its legal ?

  6. David Robson says:

    Goes to show what a fraud this Colorado/Washington/Oregon style so-called “legalization” really is. The stupid people have always said “legalize it and tax it yeah, that’s the thing” so, some abiding statist types have given them the second half in spades. The outcome is that it really isn’t legal, there would be a free market if that was so and having seen how it works in CO and OR first hand, it is no such thing. The black market still thrives and it will until you actually legalize it for real.

  7. Thomas J. says:

    Obviously Denver police are desperately seeking a massive budget cut since they have so much time and tax payer money to waste on nonsense.

  8. George Smith says:

    The war on drugs was and is and will always be about money. These local agencies get matching funds from sugar daddy uncle Sam for the drugs the confiscate. So long as the federal government money is available the ridiculous war on weed will continue.

    Too bad the federal government doesn’t pay incentives to take REAL CRIMINALS off of our streets, we would all be better off.

  9. George Smith says:

    Maybe if the cops focused on real criminals instead of people smoking a plant they wouldn’t have this problem. For GOD’S SAKE Denver cops, do you have nothing more important to worry about? Are all the child molesters, rapists, murderers, robbers, and violent criminals rounded up, every one of them? Do you not have high crime areas that need more patrols? Have all of y our property crimes been solved?

    Nonsense! I don’t even smoke pot, but I am SO SICK of our government wasting time and money on this ridiculous war on a plant.

  10. kentuckian says:

    They are burning it as fast as they can in very tiny fires.

  11. Slick says:

    Turned it into “stink weed” did you … we smoked that chit back in the ’70’s … turn it into some clothing turdburgers

  12. raymond albertson says:

    You can send it east to Pennsylvania.

  13. Uhhh..have a PBA bake sale?

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