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Readers: Missouri Should Fully Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana is everywhere, in the news, these days:

With a majority of Americans now in favor marijuana legalization, President Barack Obama is now saying weed is no more dangerous to individuals’ health than alcohol. (Huffington Post — Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol)

This is a blazing moment for American stoners. Colorado has just legalized the commercial production, sale, and recreational use of marijuana, while Washington State will begin its own pot liberalization initiative at the end of February. On Jan. 8, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would join 20 others and the District of Columbia in allowing the drug for medical purposes. (Business Week – Legal Weed’s Strange Economics in Colorado)

To be sure, ending prohibition won’t singularly eliminate the underground market or end racism in law enforcement. But it is a constructive step toward those goals, especially considering the aforementioned White House ad correctly acknowledging that marijuana isn’t egregiously dangerous. Sure, the government’s “safest thing in the world” line may have been an overstatement – but it was certainly closer to the truth than all the fear-mongering about our decision to embrace reefer sanity here in Colorado. (Salon – Reefer sanity takes hold in Colorado)

New York is one of the only states in the Northeast without a medical marijuana program. Gov. Andrew Cuomo was opposed to medical marijuana, and attempts to create a law have failed to get through the state Senate for years. Now Cuomo has reversed himself, proposing a medical marijuana research program run under exacting federal guidelines that would be the most restrictive in the country.(NPR — New York’s Medical Marijuana Experiment Begins With Caution)

News articles will continue on the topic as more states legalize medical & recreational marijuana, Illinois Dept of Health released draft medical marijuana rules yesterday. What about here in Missouri? 

Thirteen initiative petitions related to the legalization of marijuana and hemp products were approved for circulation by Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander Wednesday, clearing the way for voters to decide on the issue during the November 2014 election.

For marijuana legalization to make the ballot, petitioners have to get enough signatures to account for eight percent of the total votes cast in the 2012 governor’s election from six of the state’s eight congressional districts. (KSDK)

The advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis submitted the petitions for approval but hasn’t yet determined if they’ll work to collect the needed signatures:

But before we launch a full campaign, however, we must assess whether likely 2014 voters will pass any of these measures at the ballot box in November. For that reason, we are hiring a firm to conduct scientific polling on the official ballot language approved by the Secretary of State. Polling is most accurate when respondents are presented with the specific question as it would appear on the ballot, so that is why we could not conduct this polling earlier.

We hope to receive results of the poll by the beginning of February, and if around 60 percent of likely 2014 voters surveyed say they will vote for our measure, we will very likely pursue a campaign this year. 60 percent is considered to be a very safe benchmark because even if support decreases somewhat by Election Day, which is common with initiatives, it will still pass. I am optimistic that the polling will show strong support, but that hunch needs to be tested scientifically. (Show-Me Cannabis)

The weekly polls here are not scientific, but since the same poll last April support of full legalization jumped from 53% to 63%!

Comparison of the results from a non-scienticfic poll conducted in April 2013 and last week.
Comparison of the results from a non-scienticfic poll conducted in April 2013 and last week.

From these results it appears increased full legalization support comes from the legalize medical/decriminalize recreational camp. It’ll be interesting to see the scientific polling of likely Missouri voters. Other states will likely have medical or full legalization on their November ballots.

Why am I so interested? Several reasons: prohibition on marijuana doesn’t make sense from a law enforcement, policy, health, or economic perspective. With the latter — the “green rush” is creating new opportunities, employing people, etc.  For full disclosure: about 14% of my portfolio is comprised of marijuana-related stocks: (CANV, CBIS, FSPM, GRNH).

— Steve Patterson


Poll: How Should Missouri Treat Marijuana?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

The poll this week is an exact duplicate of a poll from last April, I want to see if there are any changes as a result of legal recreational marijuana in Colorado as of January 1st.

The results of the poll in April were:

  1. Fully legalize 71 [53.38%]
  2. Legalize for medical / decriminalize for recreational use 32 [24.06%]
  3. Keep it illegal 21 [15.79%]
  4. Legalize for medical use only 6 [4.51%]
  5. Unsure/no opinion 3 [2.26%]

We’ll see if the current results differ from last year, the poll is in the right sidebar. Mayor Slay’s campaign website currently has a 10-question “mini-poll” on marijuana.

I’ll share more thoughts with the results on Wednesday the 22nd.

— Steve Patterson 


St. Louis Came Out For Trayvon Martin, Another Rally at Noon Today

Last Sunday a couple  hundred people showed up at the St. Louis Justice Center to rally against the acquittal of George Zimmerman in the February 26, 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

St. Louisans gathered peacefully outside the Justice Center on Sunday July 14th
St. Louisans gathered peacefully outside the Justice Center on Sunday July 14th

Across the country today more demonstrations will be held at federal courthouses. “The St. Louis gathering will take place at 12 noon at the Thomas F. Eagleton U.S. Courthouse (111 South 10th Street St. Louis, MO 63102).” (source)

I’m not going to say anything else, I just ask that commenters be respectful to others.

— Steve Patterson


Readers Split On Chief Dotson’s Proposed Use Of Drones By St. Louis Police

July 10, 2013 Crime 1 Comment

For much of the early voting last week the “good idea” crowd outnumbered the “too big brother” folks regarding the proposed use of drones by the St. Louis Police. See the introductory post for the poll here.

ABOVE: A $299 personal drone from Amazon
ABOVE: A $299 personal drone from Amazon

Q: How Do You Feel About Police Chief Dotson’s Vision For Using Drones?

  1. Too ‘Big Brother’ for me 38 [44.19%]
  2. For surveillance in public, it is a good idea 36 [41.86%]
  3. Sounds ok now, but it’s a slippery slope 10 [11.63%]
  4. Other: 2 [2.33%]
  5. Unsure/No Opinion 0 [0%]

I remain conflicted; while it is big brother I also think it might catch those who are up to no good, but I see it expanding bit by bit — the slippery slope.

The two “other” answers provided by readers were:

  1. I put on a better show when I know someone is looking!Add as a poll answer
  2. stupid idea, waste of money

— Steve Patterson


Pedestrian Killed By Motorist The Grove Two Years Today

Two years ago today the lives of two young men, John Foster Courtney & Justin  Kramarczyk, were forever altered. Foster was struck by a vehicle allegedly driven by Kramarczyk as he walked across Manchester Rd. Foster died of his injuries, Kramarczyk is still awaiting trial.

Courtney was crossing Manchester Rd at this point when struck
Courtney was crossing Manchester Rd at this point when struck

July 5th, 2011:

A St. Louis man was charged today in a hit-and-run crash early Monday in the city’s Grove neighborhood.

Justin Kramarczyk, 24, of the 1600 block of Washington Avenue, was charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident. Police said additional charges may be pending in the case.

John Foster Courtney, 29, was struck at about 12:30 a.m. Monday as he crossed the street in the 4100 block of Manchester Avenue, in the Grove entertainment district. He died at a hospital at about 11:30 p.m. Monday. (stltoday)

September 7, 2011:

A St. Louis man accused in a fatal hit and run accident on the Fourth of July has been arraigned on more serious manslaughter charges, and ordered by the court to provide access to his cell phone which police confiscated as evidence in the case.

25 year old Justin Kramarczyk was originally charged with leaving the scene of an accident in the death of John Foster Courtney of south St. Louis. The St. Louis Grand Jury indicted Kramarczyk on the more serious felony of involuntary manslaughter last month.

He pleaded not guilty to the upgaded [sic] charge on Tuesday. (KSDK)

On July 6th I saved everything I could find online about both men. A couple of items from Kramarczyk’s public Facebook timeline, since removed, stood out to me as I read it again recently:

Eight days before
Eight days before
Three days before
Three days before

Alcohol is a huge problem in the gay community. Perhaps Courtney was too drunk to realize he shouldn’t cross the street? Perhaps Kramarczyk was too drunk to be driving that night? Or both…

I Couldn’t find anything about the charges against Kramarczyk after the September 2011 article  above so I asked Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce, she replied:

“Our records show it is currently set for trial on August 5th. However, this does not mean there will actually be a trial on that date. The case is pretty old, so I would expect a disposition of some kind in the near future.”

Pretty old is right! I’m sure everyone would like to see closure. It’s important to remember these types of “accidents” happen around all areas with bars and busy streets, here’s a 2012 example:

A car that police suspect was involved in a fatal hit-and-run outside Broadway Oyster Bar downtown was found in Madison, Ill., police confirmed Saturday.


Amber Wood, 23, of the 2700 block of Accomac Street, was hit and killed while crossing the street about 1:50 a.m. Friday by a car speeding south in the 700 block of South Broadway near Gratiot Street, police said. (stltoday)

I just don’t know how to keep people from crossing streets mid-block.

— Steve Patterson




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