Horse Gulch Blog

Watchdogging for the greater Durango area

15 Nov 2012

District Attorney Todd Risberg to dismiss pending marijuana cases to comply with 64

Posted by Adam Howell


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Respecting the will of Colorado voters, District Attorney Todd Risberg will be dismissing 8 pending cases of petty marijuana possession charges against adults 21 years of age and older in compliance with the recently passed Amendment 64.

“Yes, I do respect the will of the people,” said Risberg. “It’s Colorado law and we intend to abide by that.”

Amendment 64, the Initiative to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, legalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for adults 21 years of age and older in Colorado.

Some currently pending cases also include possession of paraphernalia, but no pending cases are for anything higher than than petty marijuana possession of 2 ounces or less, according to Risberg.

“We’ve got a list together, and there are only eight cases like that on this district and we’re having those dismissed,” said Risberg.

Todd Risberg, the District Attorney for the Sixth Judicial District said that he will not be prosecuting cases of marijuana possession against adults 21 and older in compliance with Amendment 64. Image taken from La Plata County website.

“Realistically, even if we proceed those cases to be able to seat a jury who says we think this should be against the law at this point, you know we don’t have a reasonable likelihood of success, and we ethically shouldn’t prosecute those cases,” said Risberg. “Any new cases coming in, they wouldn’t get to even a hearing before the law is in effect and they wouldn’t be illegal then, so there’s no point in that.”

Jail time has been a rare occurrence locally for those charged with petty marijuana possession.

“Typically what we’ve been doing on these cases is having people going to what’s called a community conference,” said Risberg. “Especially younger people who get caught. Where people in the community get together and say you know it’s your choice what you do, but here are some of the potential effects that may come about as a result of smoking weed when you’re young. And those cases that complete the conference, they typically get dismissed.”

“We’re not real big on trying to hang a drug conviction on kids for smoking weed,” said Risberg.

Currently there are no petty marijuana possession cases against anyone under 21 years old locally, says Risberg, but the cases he is dismissing are a result of the new law that will take effect once election results are certified.

“It’s not a significant case load, but they’re not something that we’re going to spend resources on. Some of those actually are cases that were charged last year, and people failed to appear or something, and haven’t been picked up on warrant, but there’s no point in leaving those warrants outstanding either,” said Risberg. “It doesn’t make sense, lets just get rid of them.”

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