Drug Law

Columbia, MO Police Chief Favors Alternatives to Marijuana Prohibition

| by NORML

By Allen St. Pierre

From Missouri NORML:

Missouri NORML’s and local attorney Dan Viets spoke with Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton yesterday about the need to reform cannabis laws in Missouri and to stop violent home raids (Columbia is where two dogs were recently shot in a marijuana raid that was captured on video, causing great public revulsion and concern nationwide–not only in Missouri).

In the past Chief Burton has alluded to the need for alternative policies to straight out prohibition. The exchange yesterday between Viets and Burton–where Chief Burton acknowledges the importance of NORML’s advocacy work–was recorded and transcribed below .

Columbia Police Chief Kenneth Burton Quote:
“If I had a chance to catch someone breaking into a warehouse and someone with marijuana (Dan and Chief crosstalk) I applaud your effort, I mean, if we could get out of the business I am sure there would be a lot of officers happy to do that.

"Unfortunately, it is still a matter of law. The shooting that happened right after, …  this came to the forefront was over marijuana. And crimes of violence do occur b/c of marijuana.

"You may make the argument that it is because it is illegal, and hey, you may be right.

"I don’t have anything against it except it is against the law.

"And as a police officer I have sworn to uphold the law. So prioritizing, when we can, you are absolutely right. We should concentrate on meth or something more serious, but we come across marijuana it is still against the law.

"I am with you on the fight, and I hope you are successful at some point and we will see how that goes.”

Thanks to MO NORML and Chief Burton!

Also, more good news from MO: Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, who announced yesterday that another member of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is working on a marijuana decriminalization ordinance, and Slay seems to like the idea!

He’s currently doing a poll on legalization, and reformers are winning big time!

Please make sure you’re working with your local chapter of NORML in MO or nationwide to reform our country’s antiquated cannabis laws.