DENVER – More than 400 law enforcement officers from Colorado and across the country are at the University of Denver for a three-day conference on marijuana.
The organizer, the Colorado Association of the Chiefs of Police, said the conference is primarily a law enforcement training event.
Press was banned from attending any of the sessions during the conference. However, the media was invited to a press briefing with Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, the governor’s Director of Marijuana Coordination Andrew Freedman, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler and Greenwood Village Police Chief John Jackson.
Freedman noted that after two years of legal marijuana in Colorado, officials still don’t have all of the answers to the abundance of questions from other states considering legal recreational pot.
Jackson pointed out that basic overviews of Colorado marijuana laws are not currently a standard component of police academies, nor the Police Officer Selection Test — the exam necessary to become a police officer.
Brauchler said noted a lack of data to give law enforcement, lawmakers and citizens a comprehensive understanding of the impact of marijuana on Colorado. He said anecdotes and “feelings” have shaped his view of the results.
His office has seen an uptick in violent crime related to marijuana, adding that about eight of the last 11 murders in his jurisdiction had ties to marijuana.
Brauchler added that the enforcement directives remain vague, creating some frustration among law enforcement.
“Those men and women in blue, with the badges and the guns, they’re a bit rudderless because we haven’t given them the direction to tell them ‘this is what you need to do to get to this place to enforce the laws,'” Brauchler said.
The conference comes one day after massive raids throughout the metro-area targeting possible illegal grow operations. Both Jackson and Brauchler said they expect to see more of those kinds of operations.