The complaint, submitted by Director of Research Aaron Malin, alleges that the task force refused to provide minutes taken at public meetings of their Board of Directors.
Although drug task forces in Missouri are given breathtaking authority to intrude into citizens’ lives and an unprecedented lack of supervision, section 195.509.2(2), RSMo., requires a minimal level of oversight by mandating that multi-jurisdictional drug task forces must establish a Board of Directors. The Missouri Sunshine Law further requires minutes from these meetings to be open records, in accordance with sections 610.010 and 610.027, RSMo.
The Board of Directors for the St. Louis County Drug Task Force appears to have held public meetings, and on January 5, 2015, Malin submitted a Sunshine Law request for copies of the minutes of those meetings. Although the Sunshine Law requires public governmental bodies to respond to a request within three days, Task Force Commander Lieutenant Jeff Burk demanded that Malin not contact him for three weeks after Malin submitted his request. Lieutenant Burk eventually refused to provide Malin any records, prompting Malin to file his complaint with the Sunshine Complaint Unit of the Missouri Attorney General’s office.
“Missouri’s citizens trust their drug task forces to enforce the law, but these task forces routinely act as though they are themselves above the law”, Malin said. “The citizens of Missouri have a constitutional right to oversee and control the police of this state. They also have a fundamental right to know how the government is exercising the power the people have entrusted to them, and that is why the Sunshine Law was enacted. If law enforcement officers become law breakers, we will seek appropriate remedies to hold them accountable.”
Show-Me Cannabis is an association of organizations and individuals who believe that cannabis prohibition is a failed policy and that regulating and taxing cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol would better control the production, distribution, and consumption of cannabis than the current criminal market system does. The group seeks to engage Missourians in a serious, public discussion about the issues associated with marijuana consumption, including medical cannabis, industrial hemp, public safety, and financial analysis in order to address problems associated with the current, failed policy.