Aldermen May Snuff Out Plan to Legalize Pot

Kevin Killeen (@KMOXKilleen)

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.

002 2 Aldermen May Snuff Out Plan to Legalize Pot

Alderman Frank Williamson says legalizing marijuana would raise revenue for the city. (KMOX)

“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.

0011 Aldermen May Snuff Out Plan to Legalize Pot

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd opposes the plan to legalize marijuana in the city. (KMOX)

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.

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One Comment

  1. Brian Kelly says:

    Marijuana consumers deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Marijuana Nationwide!

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national marijuana policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-marijuana, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

    Legalize Nationwide!

  2. Sam Moore: Tell that to Big Pharma and the Alcohol industry. It is supply and demand, people whether you like it or not are demanding a product that could be satisfied by the city in a much safer way than it is currently supplied by street dealers. Either way people will demand the product. {over 60% of people nowadays in polls) So why shouldn’t a city that needs the money capitalize off of it, make it safer, educate it’s population more on it, the ball is in your court. To write it off as something that is “Against your Religion” is pretty much equated with “I don’t like something and the teachings I grew up with didn’t like it so it is wrong” It is an ignorant argument and If everyone shared your sentiment then science and advancement would have never existed.

    John Collins-Muhammad: My point on religion was already made in the above statement so I will speak on something different for you. Let’s talk about the Opioid crisis. A very large sum of people die from taking too much of these medications prescribed by doctors to help with pain. Now what if I told you there is a natural plant that would give you the same type of pain relief but hasn’t killed a soul? Wouldn’t that option sound safer? Any new drug the pharmaceutical companies come up with is “a new drug or substance” would you not like any new medicine to be created? Would that be against your beliefs? And if so, why? You need a stronger argument if you expect people to respect your stance.

    Cara Spencer: You have a good point but what we would hope would happen is after the City gets the ball rolling maybe the County will follow suit as well as other municipalities all the way to Kansas City so by the time it is on the Ballot for State Legalization it will be a no brainier. If we don’t take risky steps like this we may miss our shot to be trailblazers along with all the short term revenue that it would bring that we could use instead of doing nothing out of fear. The States that legalized it had to deal with federal agencies like the DEA but they still took the risk and look how much money they are raking in now.

    Jack Coatar, Jeffrey Boyd and Joe Vaccaro: I understand the fear of Marijuana in the work place but then shouldn’t Alcohol be illegal because people could abuse it in the same manner?
    Marijuana doesn’t impair the user nearly as much as someone coming to work drunk or high on pain pills. The current drug testing policies are unfair for Cannabis users and without reform the money simply wouldn’t be generated. Why would people indulge in a substance, even one that is ultimately safer, if they would lose their job? If the user functions well at their job shouldn’t that be the end all be all? I don’t love how cigarettes smell and being around the 2nd-hand smoke they produce is worse on my asthma than the same scenario with Marijuana would be (Some strains actually help with Asthma) but most workplaces I have worked at allow people to smoke cigarettes on breaks and I accept it because it’s legal.

    I do believe a compromise could be to limit the drug testing to Saliva Swab tests as that is a lot fairer than Urine test. With a Saliva test the user can quit for a couple days and be clean. With Urine it’s closer to a month. I think the drug tests should also be enforced on hiring candidates and if the employee isn’t producing and seems stoned at work.

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