Maryland college football fans may have heard that two University of Tennessee football players have been suspended after being charged with marijuana possession. The incident occurred on Oct. 25 in Knoxville, according to local and national media reports.
A representative of the Knoxville Police Department said in a statement that running back John Kelly and linebacker Will Ignont were pulled over at approximately 10:46 p.m. due to a headlight violation. As officers approached, they claim to have noticed a "strong" odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. With Kelly's consent, officers searched the vehicle and allegedly found a plastic baggie filled with 4.6 grams of suspected marijuana. They also allegedly found a glass marijuana pipe. According to officers, neither player admitted to owning the marijuana or drug paraphernalia.
Both players were cited for marijuana possession. Kelly was additionally charged with no proof of insurance and not having a properly functioning headlight, which are both misdemeanors. Kelly, a junior, is Tennessee's leading rusher this season, racking up 615 yards and 6 touchdowns over six games. He has a total of 12 touchdowns over the past three seasons. Ignont has recorded four tackles this season.
Individuals convicted on drug charges can face serious consequences, including jail time and steep fines. Some people can also lose educational and job opportunities. However, a criminal defense attorney could assess the case and work to protect a defendant's future. In some cases, it may be possible to build a strong defense and get the charges dismissed. In other situations, legal counsel could negotiate with prosecutors to reduce the charges, which may also lower the penalties.
Source: ESPN, "Vols' Kelly and Ignont cited for marijuana possession", Mark Schlabach, Oct. 25, 2017