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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Marijuana: Shane Cohn Says Police Sergeant's Pro-Reform Lobbying is a Conflict of Interest

Posted By on Tue, Apr 9, 2013 at 8:00 AM

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"This is not a freedom of speech issue," Cohn says. "He's getting paid.... As a police officer, there's a certain set of expectations you have with your employer."

Cohn argues that other city employees aren't allowed to do this kind of lobbying based on Civil Service Commission rules and that eventually, employees of the police department, via local control, will be banned as well.

He says he has no problem with Wiegert speaking out -- but not in a paid position that creates this kind of conflict.

click to enlarge VIA

If he "wants to go out on his own time and dime as a private citizen," then it would be acceptable to advocate for these reforms, Cohn says.

As both a formal lobbyist and city police officer, "I don't think it's appropriate," he adds.

Wiegert was hired for Show-Me Cannabis to promote statewide legislative proposals for reform. (There are no legalization proposals on the table at this time, though one poll says a majority of Missourians support full-on regulation).

Check out our previous interviews with Show-Me Cannabis and Wiegert's attorney, who both argue that the sergeant has a right to do this lobbying work and that the department is illegally blocking his free-speech.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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