Crime

Pro marijuana group files lawsuit against drug task forces

Pro-pot group files suit against drug task forces

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - A pro-marijuana group is suing the police who lead the fight against drugs in Missouri, claiming they are hiding things. 

The organization "Show-Me Cannabis" wants drug task forces to comply with the state's open records law.

The group is suing task forces in St. Louis and Kansas City and one in Mid-Missouri.

John Payne, the executive director of "Show-Me Cannabis," told ABC 17 News he thinks there should not be multi-jurisdictional drug task forces. 

He said the groups are not being transparent when it comes to records he thinks should be open to the public.

Payne feels these groups are focusing on marijuana busts more than other drugs because it is easier and there is often more money to seize.

Payne said they are wanting a lot of documents that they still have not received under Missouri's Sunshine Law.

ABC 17 News asked what records Payne wants that he is not getting. He said, " A lot of them are minutes of meetings and also the reports that the drug task forces have to submit to the department of public safety in order to get their funding every year."

Payne said he does feel like they are hiding things, "I think so and we have emails from the task forces that I think demonstrate that. There are actually some emails in the report that show that they have been trying to avoid answering these questions."

ABC 17 News went to the task forces on Tuesday to get answers.

Audrain County Sheriff Stuart Miller who is on the board of directors for the East Central Drug Task Force sent ABC 17 News this statement:

The East Central Drug Task Force has previously complied with two of Mr. Aaron Malin's requests for information made under Missouri's Sunshine Law, and have provided him with documents.  We have, in the past, obtained legal counsel advising that our Executive Board meetings are not open to the public when discussing topics such as :

Current criminal investigations, criminal intelligence information, personnel matters, and legal issues.

ABC 17 News read this response to Payne who said he understands some things should not be open to the public if it is an ongoing investigation, but still feels police are hiding information as far as what drugs they are seizing from bust.


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