Friday, March 10, 2017

SPORTS STORY >> Chiefs’ TE charged with possession

Leader sports editor

Demetrius Harris was arrested Tuesday evening on suspicion of felony possession of marijuana. Harris, a Jacksonville graduate and tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, was the passenger in a vehicle that was stopped by Missouri Highway Patrol in Bates County, about an hour south of Kansas City.

The driver of the vehicle apparently was not arrested. The Missouri State Highway Patrol website shows no other arrests in Bates County on March 7.

The exact amount of marijuana allegedly in Harris’ possession was not released, but a felony amount in the state of Missouri is 35 grams, or 1.25 ounces.

Missouri still has some of the strictest marijuana possession laws in the nation. Some states have recently increased felony possession limits. Marijuana is legal in eight states, and 12 states have no felony possession limit. Only seven states have a lower felony possession limit than Missouri.

Voters in Arkansas made marijuana legal for medical purposes last November.

In the NFL, discipline procedures for players caught with marijuana or failing a drug test for marijuana use are less strict than violations for other drugs.

Clause 1.5.2 states that two offenses are allowed before suspensions are leveled in cases involving marijuana. Fines and other punishments are less steep for initial offenses.

In the state of Missouri, however, possession of 35 grams or more is a class D, and has often been charged as intent to distribute, and can be punishable by up to seven years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine.

In Arkansas, four ounces (113 grams) is a felony amount of marijuana. Anything less is a misdemeanor.

Harris has remained active in his local community since joining the Chiefs in 2013. He sponsors youth basketball teams and participates as a volunteer coach in the Iron Sharpens Iron football and cheer camp each year that benefits the Jacksonville Boys and Girls Club.

Harris’ road to the NFL was a unique one. He did not play football in college, but was signed by the Chiefs as an undrafted free agent after finishing his senior basketball season at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.