On Tuesday, Kentucky voters took to the polls and elected Matt Bevin governor. Bevin, a Republican and Tea Party favorite, has acknowledged what the vast majority of voters know: “There is unequivocal medical evidence” that medical marijuana is beneficial for certain conditions. He defeated prohibitionist Jack Conway (D) 52.5% to 43.8%.
With House Speaker Greg Stumbo (D) sponsoring medical marijuana legislation, next year holds great promise for the state taking a serious, bipartisan look at a more compassionate approach.
Americans living in 23 states and the nation’s capital can legally use and access medical cannabis, and upwards of 80% of Americans support allowing the seriously ill to use this beneficial medicine. Yet, some politicians — including defeated gubernatorial candidate Jack Conway — still haven’t gotten the message.
If you are a Kentucky resident, please make sure your lawmakers hear: Voters expect them to end the cruel status quo and to stop forcing patients to risk their freedom to improve their health.
According to the Saint Louis Post-Dispatch, Sgt. Gary Wiegert, a 32-year veteran of the St. Louis police force (SLMPD) and former Show-Me Cannabis lobbyist, is suing the department for violating his first amendment rights.
The phrase “lobbyist activities in Jefferson City” did not raise any eyebrows last month when Sgt. Wiegert filled out the necessary forms to work a second job. However, after word of Sgt. Wiegert’s off-duty activities spread, the SLMPD rescinded its permission.
The police veteran was told that he would need to obtain a business license if he wished to continue lobbying for the marijuana reform organization. Interestingly enough, the department took no issue with Sgt. Wiegert’s politicking three years ago when he began working for the St. Louis Tea Party.
Sgt. Wiegert’s attorney, Albert Watkins, alleges that his client’s superiors further infringed on his free speech rights when they issued a verbal “gag order” last Friday, requesting that he refrain from making any political statements until they could meet to discuss his lobbying.
Seeking a court injunction to prevent officials from quieting Sgt. Wiegert, Watkins filed a lawsuit Wednesday in federal court against the city’s Board of Police Commissioners and its five members.
“Gary Wiegert is not advocating that anybody break the law,” stated Watkins. “He is advocating as a lobbyist for an organization that wants to create a new law ... and that falls soundly within his First Amendment constitutional rights.”
Sgt. Wiegert is not alone in his advocacy. On February 7, multiple lawmakers co-sponsored a bill that would reform Missouri marijuana possession penalties, which are currently some of the strictest in the nation. More recently, Rep. Mike Colona (D-St. Louis) sponsored legislation that would allow patients with debilitating conditions to use and possess marijuana for medical purposes if their doctors recommend it.