LETTER TO THE EDITOR: MU police choose to arrest marijuana users against will of voters, students

Tuesday, October 9, 2012 | 11:16 a.m. CDT

On the night of Oct. 3, MU police officers arrested three Missouri football freshmen for marijuana possession: wide receivers Dorial Green-Beckham and Levi Copelin and linebacker Torey Boozer.

These three players and fellow students could now face criminal possession charges, which would threaten their scholarships and future careers for possessing cannabis, a substance that has been decriminalized in Columbia since 2004.

In that same year, our two student government organizations, the Missouri Student Association and the Graduate Professional Council, both passed resolutions in favor of decriminalization and in support of Columbia's decriminalization law as it now stands.

MU police choose to continue to arrest marijuana users against the will of Columbia voters and MU students. The negative public attention directed to the football program harms an important revenue source to the university and the surrounding economy. This arrest and the subsequent sports media frenzy will surely hurt our future football recruiting, but even worse is the harmful impact on the careers of these players.

We, the members of the MU chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and MU Students for Sensible Drug Policy, condemn the arrests of students on an offense that does not constitute arrest under Columbia law. We urge the prosecutor who receives this case to not press charges and choose to use public resources to prosecute crimes of violence and property instead. We also demand that the MU police cease wasting taxpayer dollars pursuing such harmless and victimless activities.

Alexis Lyle is the president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws; Devon Slavens is the president of MU Students for Sensible Drug Policy, and Spencer Pearson is the former president of NORML.

Questions? Contact Opinion editor Elizabeth Conner.

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Michael Williams October 9, 2012 | 3:36 p.m.

If memory serves, UMC is state property.

If so, I don't think UM police answer to the City of Columbia or its voters. Or UMC students alone.

They answer to all MO state citizens.

Further, UMC police (or ANY officer, for that matter) do NOT choose to do anything. They are TOLD to do things by the citizens of Missouri. It's true that police do have discretion during a citizen encounter, but they do not have discretion to flout or ignore laws set in place by the citizens of Missouri.

Such acts would get the whole lot fired. This is not a police state where the police get to make the rules as they go along.

So, if you want to gripe, then gripe at MO citizens. The law has to be changed at the state level, not at the UMC police building. Laws are not made at the precinct level, and I think you know it.

I think you'll need to get a statewide vote on this. Quit blaming the police; they are just doing the job we tell them to do.

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