Marijuana used to be legal. Then in 1937, Harry Anslinger and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics banned the consumption, manufacturing, and distributing of Cannabis after the sudden rise in the plants popularity. The Bureau sited cases that suggested inhaling the plant could cause one to go into a murderous psychosis. It’s been federally illegal ever since but is now, as it seems, being left to the states to determine how they deal with it. But it’s been almost 77 years since the FBN abolished the plant and now certain groups and organizations have made serious loot from marijuana being illegal. That money can be used for all kinds of stuff, like lobbying against marijuana reform, for example. Yet the citizens of Springfield, Missouri say that they can be responsible adults about this whole marijuana consumption thing. They even have a petition with a bunch of signatures to abide by the democratic process.
This leads us to the awkward situation of a city saying that they won’t recognize the petition of their citizens. I mean, are they high? What gives a city the right to deny the voices of their citizens? Shouldn’t that be illegal? According to John Payne, Executive Director of Show-Me Cannabis, it is illegal. John claims that our beloved sister city of Springfield, Missouri is denying the right for Show-Me Cannabis to petition the government and are breaching their freedom of speech by not recognizing a ballot initiative that would put decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana to a vote. Essentially, Springfield passed on passing a bill to pass your grass, up to 35 grams. There’s a handful of folks at work right now trying to prevent what Springfield did as being considered credible and acceptable behavior. This will ultimately go to the courts to be decided. If Springfield wins, it not only sets the precedent that they can indeed turn down any raised signatures before their proposals reach the polls, but it tells the forward thinking people of the city of St. Louis and of the rest of the state that their efforts could easily be in vain if a city can choose to not recognize the petitioning of its citizens. Springfield has said that they are confident it would not have passed and so there was no need to continue with the process. The precedent that is about to be set in Springfield now could be applied to other ballot initiatives in the future. So what can we do about it? As it turns out, texting where it counts is a good start. Show-Me Cannabis has an impressive texting campaigns that updates you with news and events that are relevant to your area. You can text SMC to 420-420 to see firsthand just how effective this campaign is.
Show-Me Cannabis advocates taxing and regulating pot similarly to the taxation and regulation of alcohol. It’s a strong argument that a lot of folks agree with. Now that Colorado and Washington have blazed a trail for marijuana reform, John is hopeful that Show-Me Cannabis will spark that torch for the citizens of Missouri to carry. Now it’s up to the residents to light the fire under their representatives.
It’s true that there’s usually tons of opposition on the statewide level but this opposition is primarily from law enforcement and marijuana growers who are making a living from this plant being illegal. But Missouri growers aren’t exactly looking to weed out John Payne in his efforts to legalize marijuana.
“It’s not really opposition that we face in Missouri. I mean, I’m sure there are people out there in Missouri that are growing large amounts of marijuana somewhere in the fields of the Ozarks. But it’s not an industry here like it is out in, say, California. Or some of the other medical marijuana states where it’s “quasi-legal” but not everyone can get into the business.”
John is passionate and knowledgeable, perhaps so much so that he throws nugget after nugget of useful information in concession. There’s no blowing smoke here, folks. If you have to take a breather and listen twice to take it all in we totally understand.
Kick back, relax, and let John Payne here introduce the organization and drop science on why our current marijuana laws are up in the clouds, how Springfield’s behavior is unlawful, and ultimately what we can do to move forward.
The St. Louis city police officer John refers to in the sound above is none other than Sgt. Gary Weigert.
Music in this features includes:
Echo Movement “Ganja”
Peter Tosh “Legalize It”
Ben Harper “Burn One Down”