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. malcolmkyle says:

    How about spending money to fight real crime?

    1. marty says:

      It’s more fun to persecute pot smokers. They don’t fight back, and they might have some donuts. Real criminals might hurt you.

      1. jp says:

        Real criminals are running the government and running around in police uniforms destroying our liberties and our country. It’s time we took this criminal trash to task.

    2. George Smith says:

      You are talking common sense, a language government people don’t comprehend.

  2. Steven Koch says:

    Open a store, make a profit, become a capitalist! Problem solved.

    1. Daveca says:

      .. or hand small joints out to Motorists at street corners. The road rage incidents will plummet. Also have more alert drivers.

      That would bode well for snack and hot dog vendors on the street corners.

      Win, win.

      1. The_Oracle says:

        “We’ll have more alert drivers…” – LMAO. Yeah, right, a scheme that involves getting everyone in sight stoned heightens alertness….sure it does. C’mon, get a clue.

    1. libertyman62 says:

      I have storage space available if DPD needs it, & DPD won’t have to pay anywhere close to $125,000 for it! Granted, I live in Little Rock, AR, but in today’s internet age distance is a non-issue, correct?

  3. Fed Up says:

    I bet the people of Denver sure are glad the police are STILL wasting their time with marijuana enforcement even after legalization. Dear Lord, when does it stop? Go fight some crime. Are there no unarmed people to gun down in Colorado?

  4. Ruckweiler says:

    Start a huge bonfire and sell tickets to the stoner public.

  5. Lee Smith says:

    Easy. STOP TAKING THE POT! Leave people alone! It’s a freaking weed for God’s sake, given to us by God.

    1. Daveca says:

      Stop lying about / blaming God

      God gave man every seed bearing plant for FOOD, not to smoke.

      I fear the smoke has affected your brain.

      1. Oh cool, so God is cool with edibles then?

      2. Ragnarredbeard says:

        What about cotton? Did God give that to us to EAT?

      3. George Smith says:

        No, I’m sorry but the bible uses the words “TO USE” when referring to the plants of the earth. Read genesis again.

  6. Bouchart says:

    The choom gang is en route. They’ll take care of it.

    1. Daveca says:

      Which is more likely, their story or the massive influx of Obamas Kids, illegally entering from Mexico, running drugs and human trafficing?

      CO is a haven for illegal aliens.

      Maybe this indicates another problem the Denver cops arent intelligent or honest enough to ADMIT to.

  7. Alejandro says:

    Spike it all with strychnine and put it back on the streets. Denver’s average IQ will go up twenty points.

  8. Daveca says:

    What, they cant smoke it fast enough?

    Agreed, its good that there is no longer any REAL crime in Denver. Must be a peaceful place.

    Lame a$$ Police State. Barney Fife would be proud.

  9. Willy won't go says:

    If they got no more room they can store some in my freezer.

  10. Pop Wursty says:

    donate it to medical mj users.

  11. When I was in the Navy and stationed in Gitmo, Cuba back in the early 1970’s. The area to the Northwest where the Jihad Resort is now located grew acre after acre of high grade Marijuana. Every so often the Marines who go a burn it out. We got word we would put wet fingers in the air to find out what direction the wind was blowing. They could do this is Denver go up wind a burn it.

  12. Mike Arvand says:

    burn it along the mexico border. The illegals will get high and sit around and do nothing like typical pot heads, and won’t go any further to taking American jobs.

  13. Coal Creek says:

    Donate the confiscated pot to any homeless that will move to Phoenix.

  14. Justin Case says:

    Land of freedom my A. S. S.

    IF we don;t even have the most basic of freedoms to do with our bodies as we so choose then how can we call our selves free?

    1. FightFireWithFire says:

      It’s not about having weed… it’s about having way too much weed. If people follow the rules, there’s no problem. Growing a plant for yourself? Probably not a problem. Growing 1000 plants is obviously trying to make a profit outside of the licensed distributors, and is therefore a problem.

      Face it… weed is a mind-altering drug. If you want to have legal access, there are going to have to be restrictions on it, same as if I want to have a glass of wine with my dinner.

      1. You’re completely disillusion. I’m allowed to grow as many grapes as I want and have as much wine and beer as i can afford on hand at any time. OP is correct, America is NOT free and we ARE slaves!

  15. sailordude says:

    Sounds like a revenue thing more then a police thing. Colorado should make revenuers like the moonshiners deal with..

  16. Josey says:

    Those police storage lockers should be featured on “Storage Wars.” Who wouldn’t want to bid on them?

  17. Robert Gold says:

    Just sell it to the stupid.

  18. No Pot No Peace says:

    Colorado really blew it. The government makes more money off “legal” pot than illegal. Instead of being arrested and convicted now potheads are self-convict themselves every time they buy taxed pot. Even when illegal cops would always say, “We have more important things to do than bust pot smokers”. They lied as usual. Wake up, Colorado.

  19. Auntie Vyris says:

    Whadda buncha dopes.

  20. Man of Reason says:

    Why is this a problem? The stuff does burn. I’d be glad to help burning it!

  21. CivicDoody says:

    I have some room in my garage, etc. Just sayin’….

  22. jenny says:

    Looks like they have to burn some – I’ll help

  23. luxomni says:

    Our Sheriff’s Department has what they call an”Old Hoss Auction” to dispose of unclaimed evidence. It sounds,, since marijuana is legal,, like Denver should copy our Sheriff.

  24. Neuro Mancer says:

    Why are they confiscating something that is legal to have in CO?

    Give them $125K? Hell no. Sell the stuff and put the money back into the treasury.

  25. Mark says:

    Plenty of room at my house, I’ll take any you want to give me. I’ll even come pick it up and haul it away free of charge

  26. john Pepin says:

    The question the begs to be answered, and wasn’t, is… If it is legal, why is it being seized?

  27. Bob Ho says:

    not smart enough to sell it and hire more cops and buy better equipment? yep, that’s Colorado for you…

  28. Sally123 says:

    So, why are they confiscating marijuana in a legal state???

  29. Ben Eaton says:

    Just be glad it wasn’t stolen fish. I suppose it’s against police regs to take pictures then incinerate the stuff.

  30. p-dawg says:

    Sorry guys, just because something’s legal doesn’t mean you won’t be prosecuted for doing it. If you don’t do it precisely how the master tells you to.

  31. bob says:

    My basement is empty. It’s about 100 sq feet. I’d be happy to let them store all they want for 25% of the product.

  32. konc2 says:

    Buy a trash compactor and smash this stuff into small cubes.

  33. Just more stupid waste of taxpayer funds and draconian persecution of citizens! So, these cops had solved every single murder and violent crime and were looking for something more to do right? Anyone can see that cannabis prohibition is a complete waste of precious law enforcement and court resources! Lazy police officers picking soft targets instead of fighting real crimes. So back to work lazy cops on, unsolved murders, rapes, assault and theft and leave cannabis alone!

  34. Ima says:

    Citizens need to step up to the plate and offer storage space. To help DPD, of course.

  35. Brian Dillon says:

    Here’s an easily doable solution to this problem . . . STOP STEALING EVERYONE’S MARIJUANA!!!!!!

  36. Christo says:

    What a lying government employee.. Lt. Cliff Carney, They are seizing so much because they are confiscating it from the pot stores and growers connected with them for any question of tax liens and perceived discrepancies of sales records.

  37. BigPuff says:

    Sell it at auction like all other confiscated goods and use the money to build your new storage facility.

  38. “We have pretty good turnover”… says the guy with bloodshot eyes and a bag of Cheetos as he giggles.

  39. Tom Harrison says:

    Why don’t they sell it to the legal dealers. Use the money to buy new equipment?

  40. Michael Granger says:

    The law sets a limit, period end of story. Pablo Escobar started his drug-selling career with MJ, then he got greedier and went for the more lucrative cocaine. Some of these folks must be real morons to think they can grow hundreds or thousands of plants and get away with it.

  41. Conservative4Trump says:

    No love, appreciation, or respect for law enforcement that targets people for marijuana. I’m over it.

  42. Charlie Harper says:

    If space is a problem, just stop taking people’s week. You’re welcome.

  43. Captain Cannabis says:

    The freedom to grow a plant is still off in the distant future in America.

  44. L HYAK says:

    I have no doubt the drug cartels will take it off their hands and give them a tidy profit for their efforts, or the drug cartels will create a underground market and undermine the government sale of this product………bad idea to butt heads this way, there is going to be some bad things happening..were i the gov, I would undersell the market and dry up the competition…..

  45. Cory Young says:

    How about you just quit confiscating it? This is all about money, it’s what the entire war on drugs has been about. It’s a plant morons..

  46. Adam says:

    Supply and demand. Simple. There aren’t enough places selling it legally or they are selling it legally at a price point that is too high. Remember only the gov-ment can say who sells the pot. If they gov-ment isn’t getting their cut, they they get mad.

  47. raymond albertson says:

    You can send it east to Pennsylvania.

  48. Slick says:

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

  49. kentuckian says:

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

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. Gene Evensen says:

    Why are they Confiscating Marijuana if its legal ?

  55. 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.

  56. Elisi Newell says:

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


  57. silly2 says:

    I could help you out with that.

  58. Thanks for finally writing about >Denver Police Running
    Out Of Space For Confiscated Marijuana � CBS Denver <Liked it!