MO Highway Patrol tells legal pot group to stop using footage

Missouri State Highway Patrol logo.

Missouri State Highway Patrol logo.

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The Missouri State Highway Patrol has sent a cease-and-desist letter to the primary group advocating for legal recreational marijuana in the state after it used video footage featuring a state trooper in a campaign ad.

Legal Missouri 2022, the primary group advocating for Amendment 3 to legalize recreational marijuana sales, released an ad on Tuesday that includes video of a uniformed person who appears to be a Missouri trooper riding a motorcycle and also getting in and out of a vehicle.

“The Patrol is aware of Legal Missouri 2022’s advertisement featuring the Patrol. The Patrol did not give its permission for its emblem, name, or images to be used nor was permission sought,” the Highway Patrol said in a Facebook post on Wednesday.

Highway Patrol Capt. John Hotz told The Star on Thursday that the agency had sent a cease-and-desist order. The Star obtained a copy of the letter Friday.

Highway Patrol legal counsel Kayla Kemp writes in the letter that the agency’s registration of its emblem as a service mark “prohibits anyone other than the owner of the service mark from using the mark without the Patrol’s consent.”

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The Missouri State Highway Patrol sent a cease-and-desist letter to Legal Missouri 2022.

“As the use of any images featuring the Patrol’s emblem is unauthorized and a violation of state law, Legal Missouri 2022 needs to immediately cease and desist its use of the Patrol’s name and emblem in its advertising or any other publication,” Kemp writes.

The letter, dated Oct. 19, contains no threat of legal action by the Highway Patrol. The agency would almost certainly run into significant First Amendment obstacles in any lawsuit over Legal Missouri’s campaign speech.

The request is an extraordinary demand by a government agency to

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