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Cannabis Law Reform Advances in Saint Louis
On Thursday, the Health and Human Services Committee of the Saint Louis Board of Aldermen held a hearing on Alderman Shane Cohn's bill to reform the city's cannabis policies. Shane's proposal would make marijuana possession a municipal offense (i.e. like a traffic ticket) instead of a misdemeanor and protect medical marijuana patients, and it was extremely well-received at the meeting.
We had around a dozen supporters there -- which is a large number for a morning hearing -- and every member of the public who signed up to speak was in favor of the bill. Both the city's general counselor and the circuit attorney spoke in favor of the idea. Even the representative of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse did not voice opposition to the idea. Finally, in his introduction to the bill, Alderman Cohn said that Show-Me Cannabis Regulation's 2012 statewide campaign was the inspiration for his decision to file the reform!
We expect that the committee will approve the bill next Thursday, but after that it will go back to the full board of alderman and likely face a vote there either on February 1st or February 8th. That means we will need to identify supportive constituents in the wards of undecided aldermen and coordinate emails, phone calls, and office visits to ensure passage of the bill.
This project will require a tremendous amount of work, and we need your help to make it happen. That's why I am inviting you to support our reform efforts in Saint Louis by participating in our Reform in the River City Money Bomb next Wednesday, January 23rd. Thanks to investments from people like you, cannabis policy is now a common subject of debate in the state of Missouri, and we are on the verge of passing substantial reforms in its second largest city and the anchor of its largest metropolitan area. Reform in Saint Louis will send positive ripples across the state of Missouri and the entire nation!
We believe that if we can raise $2,000, we can provide this campaign with everything it will need to win. So please help us prevent the criminal prosecution of cannabis users in Saint Louis by investing with us this Wednesday!
Drug Test Tampering to Be New Crime?
By Dan Viets, J.D., SMCR Board Chair
A series of new crimes involving "altering or falsifying" drug tests would be created if House Bill 38 filed last week by Rep. Jeff Roorda of Jefferson County, is passed. The new crimes would be committed by using or possessing with intent to use any device or "biological sample" to alter a test or test result. It would be a new crime to provide, even without charge, or possess, a "biological sample", like urine, or any adulterant, for the purpose of altering a drug test result.
This bill is shocking in it scope. As filed, this bill would make it a crime to alter ANY drug test. It is not limited to tests given to people on probation or parole. It would apply also to anyone applying for a job in the public or private sector, or undergoing medical diagnostic testing or even a child whose parent inflicts a drug test on him or her. It represents the kind of thinking which has led to dramatic and terribly expensive over incarceration of Missouri citizens in recent decades.
Many prohibitionists see drug testing as a way to impose their failed policy on other members of society. But the ironic fact is that drug testing actually often leads to harder drugs. That is because the inactive metabolites of cannabis are detectable for far longer than those of almost any other prohibited substance, for up to a month or more after last use. The metabolites of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and many other drugs are detectable for only a few day, at most. The use of hallucinogens like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms are virtually undetectable, even while the person tested is under the influence of them.
Therefore, many people subjected to mandatory drug testing stop using the relatively harmless substance cannabis, and instead, substitute far more potentially dangerous and addictive drugs.
Fortunately, Rep Roorda is a Democrat, which means he is a member of the minority party, and not likely to be in a position to move this misbegotten bill forward. It has not yet been assigned to a committee nor set for hearing. Nonetheless, contacting your state representative to urge him or her to oppose this bill would be wise.