St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department Sergeant Gary Wiegert is a 34-year law enforcement veteran. He is also a staunch supporter of marijuana legalization. Those facts have led to quite a bit of contention, as you can imagine. There was a pretty big battle when Mr. Wiegert started working as a lobbyist for the Show-Me Cannabis campaign. For obvious reasons, marijuana opponents and some members of Missouri law enforcement don't like Mr. Wiegert's cannabis activism. But it's Gary's constitutional right to be politically active when he's off the clock.
Show-Me Cannabis has an effort underway to legalize marijuana in Missouri in 2016. In order to make the ballot, the campaign needs to gather 157,788 valid signatures. I have said it before, and I'll say it again, the Show-Me Cannabis campaign has the strongest team and strategy in the nation. If they succeed in a state as conservative as Missouri, they will show that marijuana legalization can occur in any state in America. Sergeant Gary Wiegert supports marijuana legalization in Missouri because he thinks marijuana prohibition is a huge waste of police resources. Per STL Mag:
Wiegert views marijuana legalization as an issue of individual freedom and believes that its prohibition is not "fiscally responsible" to enforce. When he first started working for the city's police department in 1980, police usually preferred not to arrest people for marijuana possession, he says. Instead, they would take the reefer and throw it away, sometimes in a nearby sewer.
"We had that discretion," Wiegert says. "In those days, if you'd show up with a marijuana arrest, the other police would laugh at you. They really would, because there were so many other, more important things to do in the city than make marijuana arrests. There was a lot of peer pressure not to make marijuana arrests. The other police thought they'd be out doing your police work for you while you were stuck at the station doing the paperwork."
His opinion on arresting St. Louisans for marijuana hasn't changed. "I've always thought it was a waste of our time," he says. "You have to do the report-writing, the booking. You have to do the conveying to the station, take them to processing, and then let them go, bring evidence to the lab. Then you have to go to the warrant office and apply for a warrant. You have all of these steps, all this time involved for a little bit of marijuana. It's not cost-effective for a policeman to do this. That's when my beliefs changed."
If you get a chance, you should read the entire article I linked to above. It gives a great breakdown of the efforts underway in Missouri right now. If you live in Missouri, make sure to volunteer with the Show-Me Cannabis campaign. And whether you live in Missouri or not, you should strongly consider donating to the Show-Me Cannabis campaign. Like I said earlier in the article, if Missouri can legalize marijuana, it will prove that any state can legalize marijuana.