Denver district attorney: Legalized weed has not been easy

3 min. read
The state only allows for six plants per patient. These doctors recommended 75 or more. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) marijuana; pot; weed; denver; colorado; denverite; kevinjbeaty;

Nevada voters will decide this November whether to legalize recreational marijuana. On Tuesday, they got a little advice from Denver's top prosecutor.

“I wish we had waited. It’s tough being first. There’s no rush to this,” district attorney Mitch Morrissey told a public forum in Carson City, as the Nevada Appeal reported.

The event was part of Sierra Nevada Forums, a group that partners with local schools, the library and the League of Women's Voters to provide "free or affordable informative public forums on current topics and crucial issues."

Morrissey was the headliner, following a debate by a local advocate and opponent of legal marijuana.

The DA said that legalization had not killed the illegal market for weed, noting that Pueblo had been flooded with "Cuban drug dealers," as the newspaper put it.

The DA reportedly said that Denver's crime rate has increased since legalization, but he added that it would be "naive" to link that change to legalization. He did describe crimes linked to weed, including 44 hash oil explosions and a number of homicides, according to the Appeal.

Morrissey praised Nevada's proposal because it limits the number of potential dispensaries, the Appeal wrote. Denver recently capped the number of dispensaries allowed in the city, but there aren't any limits on the state level.

Morrissey also reportedly advocated for a change that a lot of marijuana business owners also want: Legal banking. Many banks refuse to accept marijuana companies' money, as the drug is still federally illegal. That forces some dispensaries and others to keep large sums of cash.

“I believe a lot of the violent crime would be reduced if they would allow it to be banked because (criminals) are after the money,” he said, according to the Appeal. “Banking would help our crime rate and other states regulating it would help our crime rate.”

Morrissey doesn't seek out speaking opportunities.

But he sometimes accepts invitations to speak on marijuana and other topics when the forum seems appropriate, according to spokeswoman Lynn Kimbrough.

"He doesn’t have an agenda. He just responds to invitations on the part of communities, who have expressed an interest in the Colorado experience," she said.

He's not the only elected official to speak about the Colorado experience, either. Check out our guided tours of what Gov. John Hickenlooper and Mayor Michael Hancock have said about weed over the years.

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