I recently published an article asking for people to sign a petition asking for the resignation of a Missouri police officer (Kevin Glaser) that suggested marijuana activists are stupid welfare-sucking potheads who probably can't read. The officer's comments were posted on his Facebook page after he attended a marijuana town hall meeting hosted by the Show-Me Cannabis campaign. How a sworn officer can make such insensitive, inaccurate statements and keep his job is beyond me.
The comments resulted in a debate challenge by the Executive Director of the Show-Me Cannabis campaign John Payne. I wasn't holding out hope for a response from Officer Kevin Glaser, because usually marijuana opponents try to make those type of comments then hide behind the status-quo. It appears that the challenge has been accepted, but not by Officer Glaser. Per the River Front Times:
Jason Grellner, a top member of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association, tells Daily RFT, "I would be more than happy to meet John from Show-Me Cannabis down in Poplar Bluff to debate the issue or anywhere else he would like to. We believe that we have more than enough science and economics on our side to prove our point."
I will make sure to post an article once the details are worked out. Below is more information about the Facebook controversy, posted earlier on The Weed Blog:
The following is an open letter to Vice President of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association Kevin Glaser. It was published on our blog on Tuesday and circulated to the media. As of this writing, it has been covered by the Riverfront Times in Saint Louis and in a front page story in the Southeast Missourian in Cape Girardeau on Thursday. So far, Glaser has not responded to me, despite the fact that I emailed him personally.
I was pleased that you attended Show-Me Cannabis' town hall meeting in Cape Girardeau last Monday, October 21. Believe it or not, we really are attempting to create a rational dialogue between the most ardent cannabis law reformers and prohibitionists and everyone in between. Despite our deep and passionate disagreements about how the law should treat those who use cannabis, I thought the discussion at the meeting remained civil and in good faith.
That is why I was deeply disappointed when I saw this on your public Facebook page on Wednesday:
First, I believe it is completely inappropriate for a man who has supposedly dedicated his life to public service to treat a broad swath of the public with such disdain. Just a few days after the meeting in Cape Girardeau, Gallup reported that 58 percent of the American public believes that cannabis should be legalized for adult use. Do you really mean to imply that 58 percent of the country has never visited a library, lives off welfare, and should be discouraged from voting?
Such comments are thoroughly unprofessional and unbecoming of a government employee, and I believe you owe the people who attended the meeting and Missouri taxpayers generally an apology.
Moreover, I worry what the sentiment expressed in your post says about your motivations for enforcing the laws prohibiting cannabis. You seem to be motivated primarily by sheer personal animus against a group of people whom you obviously find distasteful. As a private citizen, you are of course free to dislike or even hate anyone you so choose, but as a public servant, you are supposed to be held to a higher standard --- one that treats all citizens as equals before the law. Given your stated feelings towards those who advocate reforming our cannabis laws, I question your ability to enforce the law equitably and to respect these reformers' Constitutional right to freedom of speech.
This post also raises questions about the sincerity of your statements at the meeting. I distinctly remember you saying that some of the laws are too heavy-handed, that there is a distinction between marijuana and industrial hemp, and agreeing with me that our laws have been ineffective at stopping people from using cannabis. For my part, I agree with you that any sensible cannabis policy needs to keep cannabis away from kids and keep impaired drivers off the road --- I simply don't think a legal prohibition on responsible, adult use accomplishes either of those goals. I do not expect to fully convince you of my position, and I'm sure you feel the same about me, but I thought we had found some points of mutual agreement that could form the basis of a meaningful dialogue. It now appears to me that you are more interested in disparaging your opponents than taking part in a rational discussion.
Finally, I believe you are correct that the overwhelming majority of the participants at the meeting have made up their minds about this issue. I would have preferred it if more undecided voters had attended, as they are the group Show-Me Cannabis most wants to reach. Regardless, your criticism cuts both ways: Your mind appears to be just as closed --- if not more so --- to pro-reform arguments than the reformers' minds are to your arguments.
For instance, right off the bat, you boldly asserted that no country in the world has legalized marijuana. Many in the crowd said you were wrong, but you persisted until I stated that, as a simple point of fact, Uruguay had just launched a program legalizing and regulating the cannabis market in the country. Legalization in Uruguay has been a major topic in cannabis policy circles for the past year, and the fact that you were unaware of it strongly suggests to me that you do not know the facts on this subject as well as you think you do.
I fully believe that the more people know about this issue, the more they will be convinced that a system of legalization and regulation is a superior policy for dealing with cannabis than prohibition. I presume that you believe the inverse. If that's the case, then let us both put our convictions to the test in an open public debate.
Show-Me Cannabis just booked the Tinnin Center at Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff for a town hall meeting on December 12 at 6:30 p.m., and, if you are agreeable, we can hold the debate there. However, I am open to your suggestions regarding date and venue. You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I look forward to your response.
Let Glaser and the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association know that Glaser's libelous comments will not be tolerated by signing our petition demanding that he either apologize or step down as Vice President of the organization and then share it with others! Help spread the message of reform to the most conservative parts of the state, by making an online contribution now!