Cedar Rapids Police Chief Wayne Jerman, who was reporting to the City Council on the status of Advocate’s for Social Justice’s demands, said that he is in favor of lowering the charge of marijuana possession. This is according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette.
German said that he would be o.k. with marijuana possession being dropped down from a serious misdemeanor to a minor misdemeanor. The Gazette reports that this would allow violators to be issued a citation instead of being taken into custody. Chief Jerman stated that while the city is committed to working with others to encourage laws that are consistent with the views of the Cedar Rapids community, it is up to the Iowa Legislature to determine the severity of drug charges for the state.
The Gazette pointed out the the Advocates for Social Justice recognize that the council doesn’t have the legal authority to decriminalize marijuana. Their demand is that officers only write citations for low level offenses, or let the violator go. The advocates want the police to adopt this new policy until state and federal drug laws are changed.
According to the Gazette, city council member Dale Todd, who chairs the council’s Public Safety and Youth Services Committee, called Jerman’s statement “a progressive step in the right direction.” According to an ACLU study of law enforcement, a Black person is 73 times more likely to be arrested in a marijuana possession case than a white person.