ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A plan to legalize marijuana in the city of St. Louis faces widespread opposition in the board of aldermen.
Sponsored by Alderwoman Megan Green, the plan would direct St. Louis police to no longer enforce state and federal marijuana laws.
Green has touted the plan as a way to raise “millions” in revenue through the retail sale of marijuana, and a way to “free up police” to tackle more serious crime.
As the bill was introduced Friday, several aldermen told KMOX they aren’t in support.
Aldermen Sam Moore, a Baptist, and Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, a Muslim, both say it’s against their religion.
“That’s no way to raise money, that’s no way to raise revenue, by indulging in drug activity,” Moore said.
Muhammad said, “I will not be supporting it due to religious believes. And I don’t think my community needs any more drugs or substances in the community.”
Among the handful of supporters, Alderman Frank Williamson argued it’s time to get control of a controlled substance.
“It could help. I don’t know if it will be the total answer, the total savior, but I think it will really, really help generate some money,” Williamson said.
Another supporter, Alderman Brandon Bosley agrees.
“This city right now, from everybody’s stand point, is broke,” Bosley said, “We always need money … We could make a lot of revenue just off of growing seeds. We have a lot of open land.”
In all, some five aldermen co-sponsored the bill, out of 28 aldermen.
Alderwoman Cara Spencer, who sometimes supports Green’s bills, says she doesn’t want to set people up for arrest.
“My concern would be that the state troopers and state authorities would still have the authority to arrest folks for violating state law,” Spencer said.
Opponents are also lining up against a provision in the bill that would prohibit employers from discriminating against workers for marijuana use.
Aldermen Jack Coatar, Jeffrey Boyd and Joe Vaccaro object to that provision.
Vaccaro says letting people get high on the job would become a public safety hazard.
“Do you really want somebody working with you on the 50th floor of some construction working with you who had been smoking marijuana?” Vaccaro said.
Alderman Boyd says any employer should have the right to insist that workers are sober on the job.
“I don’t want to have employees that go on lunch break smoking marijuana, coming back smelling like marijuana, I don’t want to be around that type of environment,” Boyd said.
Boyd says he “can’t imagine” the bill getting out of committee.
Even the sponsor, Alderwoman Green, admits getting it out of the Legislative Committee may be tough.
Green says she had hoped the bill would be assigned to the Public Safety Committee, where she gauged its chances were better, but she says “some people are playing games.”
Five of the 10 members on the Legislative Committee tell KMOX they are either against the bill or have questions about it.