You'd think people would listen when a career police officer says we need to reform marijuana laws. But n-o-o-o-o. Not in St. Louis, anyway. Gary Wiegert is a 30+ year police officer who signed up to lobby Jefferson City on behalf of tea party issues a couple of years ago. Some people freaked out over that, but Gary was instrumental in advancing tea party issues for the past 2 years.
Now, Wiegert is lobbying for some mild marijuana reforms, and the Masters of the City are freaking out. Not the people, mind you, but the people who make money on draconian marijuana laws.
Wiegert represents an organization called Show-Me Cannabis in support of two bills currently awaiting hearings in Jefferson City—HB 512 and HB 511. As I’ve written before, the Republican party should be pushing this issue—it’s a matter of liberty and good government.
The laws would decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and allow those previously convicted to expunge their records, according to Show-Me Cannabis.
It would eliminate the possibility of arrest or jail for marijuana and paraphernalia possession. It would also limit the fines for those offenses to $250 and, in most cases, keep the charge from appearing on the defendant's public record through use of a suspended imposition of sentence (SIS).
would expand the use of expungement. This bill would allow for the expungement of all misdemeanor offenses, including marijuana and paraphernalia cases, in both state and municipal courts, with the exception of violent or sex-related charges. Expungement would be available after five years with no additional similar convictions.
These small reforms would let police focus on more serious crimes, save Missouri taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, reduce crime, and strengthen society. And HB 512 mirrors the policy of Columbia, Missouri.
Neither Wiegert nor Show-Me Cannabis nor I advocate breaking the law, and Gary enforces the laws on the books. He also knows the toll those laws take on law enforcement and budgets, and the damage they do to people’s lives. Nor are we advocating use of marijuana, even if it were legal. We realize that any drug can lead to problems for individuals, families, and societies. That's why there are inpatient treatment options for marijuana addicts.
Fox 2 News’ Charles Jaco hoped to interview Wiegert this afternoon, but Gary’s bosses in the police department barred Wiegert from talking to the press. Wiegert has a meeting with those bosses on Monday at the police headquarters.
I support Sgt. Wiegert, liberty, and reform of draconian marijuana laws. I also support Gary’s right to advocate for changes to laws he believes are unjust and counterproductive. If he cannot lobby for reform of marijuana laws, I don't expect to see any police chiefs lobbying to weaken the Second Amendment—or anything else.
See my original post on The War on Weed.