One of my favorite classes in college was a course dedicated to the First Amendment, which states "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances." In that course, we would discuss and debate real life cases that involved the First Amendment.
I don't think there's too many, if any, examples involving the First Amendment right now that are as interesting as what is going on right now in St. Louis, Missouri. As I reported last week, St. Louis police Sgt. Gary Wiegert has teamed up with Show-Me Cannabis as a lobbyist. When a police sergeant comes out in support of cannabis reform, it's bound to get some conversation going. When a police sergeant actively lobbies for cannabis reform, I would think it would be drawing more attention than it has so far.
"Wiegert is a sergeant with the Saint Louis Police Department and has served on the city's police force for over 32 years. He also represented his fellow officers as president of the Saint Louis Police Officer's Association from 1999 to 2003 and again from 2007 to 2009." According to the press release I received from Show Me Cannabis Regulation last week.
The press release went on to say, "In his political life, Wiegert has long advocated for a more limited government. He hosted WGNU radio shows Bad Boys from 1999 to 2006 and Constitutionally Correct in 2012. Most recently, Wiegert has put his conservative principles into action as a lobbyist for the Saint Louis Tea Party."
"Our marijuana policies are the perfect example of a wasteful, big government program," Wiegert said. "Arresting people for marijuana is a waste of my time as a police officer, a waste of taxpayer dollars, and has done nothing to reduce the use of marijuana."
"We are very excited to have Gary on the team," said Show-Me Cannabis Regulation Executive Director John Payne. "He can speak firsthand to the failure of cannabis prohibition, demonstrates the strong bipartisan appeal of the issue, and will be taken seriously by the legislature."
There was at least one person that doesn't seem happy to see Sergeant Wiegert working to reform cannabis laws in Missouri - St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, who issued the following statement according to Fox St. Louis, "Sergeant Wiegert is not representing the department. His comments are his own and not what is expected of our officers." Apparently Police Chief Sam Dotson thinks that locking people up for a harmless act is what should be expected of police officers. Police Chief Sam Dotson apparently thinks that tearing apart families and ruining lives over a plant is what should be expected of police officers.
I encourage all TWB readers, whether they live in Missouri or not, to call Police Chief Sam Dotson and let him know what you think! Kudos to Sergeant Wiegert for standing up for what is right!