By John Payne
This last Wednesday, nearly 400 people turned out to the Ethical Society in Saint Louis to watch the debate between President of the Missouri Narcotics Officers' Association Jason Grellner and myself.
Both sides worked diligently to turn out their supporters, so the crowd was divided, but our supporters clearly had the edge in numbers. We also garnered far more contributions than the prohibitionists.
We set out contribution bowls for both Show-Me Cannabis and the MNOA, and attendees dropped $168 in our bowl and a single penny in the MNOA bowl! We will give $100 of those contributions to Harris House, a nonprofit drug abuse treatment center.
The event also brought a tremendous amount of media attention to the issue. Sgt. Grellner and I previewed the debate Wednesday morning on McGraw Milhaven's KTRS show, and you can watch video of our exchange here. That afternoon, I discussed the debate and the issue generally on Mark Reardon's KMOX show. Mandy Murphey of Fox 2 moderated the discussion, so the station ran a promotional story the night before and covered the debate extensively Wednesday evening. Finally, KSDK broadcast a story on the debate, as well.
The most thorough description of the event from any local media outlet was written by Ray Downs at The Riverfront Times. However, Russ Belville live tweeted the debate, and his blog post on it reads like a play-by-play of the action.
If you want to see the whole thing, the live stream is archived here, but the WiFi in the building was extremely weak in the auditorium. That forced our camera person to stand at the back of the room near the lobby, so there is substantial background noise. The good news is that thanks to SMC volunteer and supporter Jim McNeely, I now have a high quality recording that I hope to have posted online by the time we publish next week's newsletter.
We won't have any more events until after the holidays, but we do already have two events scheduled for January. On Monday, January 6, I will take part in a discussion about cannabis policy in Piedmont that will feature local officials, such as the Sheriff of Wayne County. Then, on Thursday, January 9, we will hold our rescheduled Lake of the Ozarks Town Hall Meeting at Shawnee Bluff Vineyard, which will feature police officers and reform advocates Sgt. Gary Wiegert and Chief Larry Kirk, former medical marijuana patient Daryl Bertrand, and myself.
If you live in a Missouri city with more than 10,000 residents where we have not yet held a meeting and would like to see that happen, please email me, and we can work together to make that a reality!
Of course, none of our work is possible without contributions from people like you, so please take a moment and contribute now.