By John Payne
On Monday, we hosted a screening of the Reason Foundation's new documentary America's Longest War in Joplin. After the film, local cannabis law reform activist (and former Show-Me Cannabis Regulation board member) Kelly Maddy facilitated a Q&A session between the audience, film co-producer and Reason Foundation President David Nott, Trish and Daryl Betrand of Springfield, and myself.
The event drew over 60 attendees, including several members of the Alliance of Southwest Missouri, which considers cannabis to be "a concern and threat to the safety and well being of families" in the area. Before the meeting, the Alliance sent out a press release describing what they see as the harms of cannabis, and during the Q&A those members in attendance asked a number of pointed questions of the panelists.
Although I'm sure my perspective on the issue still differs from theirs, I am very pleased that they took the time to consider our point of view and attend the event. I firmly believe that the truth is on our side, so I welcome any opportunity to discuss it with those individuals who disagree or are undecided.
The Joplin Globe also took notice of the event by publishing three full articles on the subject. First, they published my editorial on the failure of the drug war in the Sunday edition. On Monday, they gave some advance coverage of the film and our efforts in Missouri. Finally, the day after the event, they ran a front page storyright above an article on recently announced Senate hearings on the federal response to cannabis legalization at the state level.
We jumpstarted a very positive dialogue about cannabis policy in Joplin, and we've scheduled a number of new events over the past week in our effort to bring that discussion to every part of the state. Here is our current calendar of town hall meetings:
- Jefferson City (9/16) at Missouri River Regional Library (214 Adams Street), 6:30 P.M.
- Columbia (9/19) at Daniel Boone Regional Library (100 W. Broadway), 7:00 P.M.
- Kansas City (10/9) at Woodneath Public Library (8900 NE Flintlock Road), 6:30 P.M.
- Cape Girardeau (10/21) at Cape Girardeau Public Library (711 N. Clark), 6:30 P.M.
- Lake of the Ozarks (12/5) at Port Arrowhead Resort (3080 Bagnell Dam Blvd.), 6:30 P.M.