Iowa City leaders consider change in marijuana arrest policies - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa City leaders consider change in marijuana arrest policies

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

Iowa City officials are considering making a change to the city's marijuana policing policy.

City councilman Jim Throgmorton says racial disparity in marijuana arrests and the overcrowding at the Johnson County Jail are the reasons behind a possible change.

"I believe we should at lease look very carefully whether they should be detained, arrested, incarcerated, etc., simply for possession and use of marijuana," said Throgmorton. "In part, it has to do with the fact that African-Americans are arrested in disproportionate numbers and incarcerated in disproportionate numbers merely for possession and use of marijuana."

Iowa City residents has strong opinions on both sides.

Melyssa Jo Kelly says looking at this policy change is far past time.

"Stop wasting resources on the impossible, totally failed war on drugs and start putting the money where it needs to go," said Kelly.

Elijah Simmons thinks otherwise.

"It's going to cause a lot of problems, because it's just going to make up excuses and excuses," said Simmons. "I don't like that idea because it's a bad influence on other kids. Everybody's saying that the new generation needs to change their ways.  Well, how are we going to change our ways if we're practically saying, 'here, go ahead and smoke weed'."

Throgmorton tells us police should focus on arresting people committing offenses that are harmful to other people and property.

While he tells us the council can't control who police can arrest, the council can recommend this to the city manager, who has control over the police chief.

He says the overcrowding at the jail may directly impact the council's decision, and is only in the discussion phase.

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