Residents of Denver have voted to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults in the city. The move may be merely symbolic, though, since police can still charge offenders under state and federal drug laws.
Under the measure, residents over 21 years old could possess up to an ounce of marijuana in Denver, which is nicknamed the Mile High City for its elevation.
Bruce Mirken of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project said he hoped the approval will launch a national trend toward legalizing a drug whose enforcement he said causes more problems than it cures.
However, many opponents of the measure said it made no sense to prevent prosecution by Denver authorities while marijuana charges are most often filed under state and federal law.
Supporters say they are relying on city prosecutors and police to defer to the will of the voters by not pursuing charges against people with small amounts of the drug, the AP reports.
Tuesday's vote does not affect the medical marijuana law voters approved in 2000. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that medical marijuana laws in Colorado and nine other states would not protect licensed users from federal prosecution. A.M.