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Rookie officers make rookie mistake by openly smoking cannabis in park

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The busted duo, who were not on duty at the time, placed on leave pending an investigation.

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Two Mississippi police officers have found themselves on the wrong side of the law after being discovered with cannabis, which remains illegal in the state, last Friday.

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The busted duo, who were not on duty at the time, have reportedly been placed on leave pending an investigation. Each has also been charged with marijuana possession and an open container violation.

Mississippi’s maximum penalty for a first-time offender possessing 30 grams or less of cannabis is fairly light: a US$250 ($322.50) fine at most, Whitt Law Firm points out. But anything above 30 grams is treated as a felony.

On the low end, having up to 250 grams is punishable by one to three years in jail and a US$1,000 ($1,290) fine, while on the high end, five kilograms or more of cannabis carries a maximum penalty of 10 to 30 years in prison and a US$1 million ($1.3 million) fine, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

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With regard to possessing cannabis paraphernalia, the misdemeanour charge carries a top penalty of six months in jail and a US$500 ($645) fine, per NORML.

Jackson Police Chief James Davis has reportedly said that “if an officer did something off duty, that’s their personal life.”

In the Mississippi Peace Officers Standards and Training, as part of personal declarations, officers are asked to describe the frequency and extent of their use intoxicating liquors and if they have “ever used marijuana or any other drug not prescribed by your physician.”

It defines moral turpitude as “any conduct, or pattern of conduct, contrary to justice, honesty, honor, modesty or good morals that would tend to disrupt, diminish or otherwise jeopardize public trust and fidelity in law enforcement.”

The Jackson officers were hardly the first to find themselves in hot water over possessing, using or selling cannabis.

Last year in the U.K., a former police commander known as the “Sacker” who headed the panel responsible for disciplining officers for smoking cannabis faced the sack himself after admitting to using cannabis for health reasons.

Also last year, a Sri Lankan police officer was arrested for possessing nine grams of heroin and 390 grams of ice.

And earlier this year, a 31-year-old officer with the New York Police Department was arrested for allegedly selling marijuana and a small amount of painkiller to an investigator through a wellness boutique she was running.

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