A Missouri State Representative named Bill Lant is a Republican who represents Missouri's 159th District. It's a small, rural district dominated, if you can call it that, by the little town of Anderson, population 1,998.
Aarden Gross is a 27-year-old constituent of Bill Lant's, just 26 miles away in tinier unincorporated Rocky Comfort. Aarden is interested in having Missouri's marijuana laws reformed and decided to email his state representative, Bill Lant, to express his feelings.
Aarden's not a professional lobbyist or even an amateur activist. His writing skills aren't the best and his emails are a bit long. But he is a citizen, a constituent of Bill Lant's, and most important to this article, a patient suffering from a vascular disease for which medical marijuana would be helpful.
Aarden Gross and Bill Lant got into an email discussion where apparently Aarden told Rep. Lant about his medical need. "I have reached out to you several times trying to get a conversation started," Aarden wrote, "and the only words I have got from you out of half a dozen emails was 'I will think about it'." In that email, Aarden expressed how a CBD-only bill under consideration wouldn't help most patients and wouldn't help him. "The only way to ensure all patients are getting the medicine they need," Aarden continued, "is to completely legalize marijuana." Aarden also asked Rep. Lant about his personal views on medical marijuana and what sources he uses to shape those views.
Rep. Lant responded:
Aarden, my District survey shows 89% disapproval. We will not have an opportunity this session to vote on a proposal as bill filing has closed, but I will send out another poll before next session. Thanks, Bill
Disturbed that Rep. Lant deferred to a survey rather than offering his own opinions, Aarden responded to Rep. Lant angrily, upset that Rep. Lant wouldn't answer any of his questions. "You need to have a conversation about Marijuana," wrote Aarden, "It is a serious subject and with your obvious lack of willingness to even discuss the current situation I doubt you will be my representative for long."
Now maybe Aarden showed a lack of respect and decorum in some of his writing. Maybe after nine or ten long emails about the same subject, Rep. Bill Lant too hastily hit "Send" late after a long night of legislating. But this response from an elected state official shows a disturbing lack of maturity and respect for the people he represents:
Aarden, are you as dumb as you appear? I answered your questions as succinctly as I could considering that there is NO current legislative action by the House or Senate. I WAS willing to send another survey out (which you would have received four of already if you are are indeed a resident and a registered voter) I can assure you that sending me messages that impune [sic] my character or honesty will get you nothing! Get a job and get off dope!
Bill Lant ran unopposed in the 2012 General Election, so perhaps he feels quite safe insulting one of the ten thousand or more voters in his district.