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Marijuana: St. Louis Police Sgt. Gary Wiegert is Suing Department for Suppressing His Lobbying

marijuana bud.jpg
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Sgt. Gary Wiegert of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department supports changes in local marijuana laws so that minor offenses would not needlessly drain police resources. That's why he decided to work on the side as a lobbyist for Show-Me Cannabis, a group that advocates for pot reform in Missouri.

But metro police officials were not pleased with this activity -- and have made efforts to block this lobbying. At least those are the allegations from Wiegert and his legal team, who will be filing a lawsuit this week that accuses the department of suppressing his free speech rights.

"The police department is not in a position to say, 'You can be a lobbyist only if we like what you're lobbying for,'" attorney Albert Watkins tells Daily RFT. "We all know that the upset here on the part of the department is the fact that he is...lobbying for an organization that is named Show-Me Cannabis.'"

See also:
- Marijuana Decriminalization: How Many Cases Does St. Louis Circuit Attorney Handle?
- Missouri Legislators Who Want to Legalize Or Decriminalize Marijuana
- Marijuana Bill: Shane Cohn Proposes Pot Fines Go To St. Louis Mental Health Board

Watkins continues, "The actions of the police department by and through its white shirts constitute nothing short of reefer madness on crack."

Police officials have little to say on the allegations.

"Sgt. Wiegert is not representing the Department," Chief Sam Dotson says in a statement sent to Daily RFT yesterday. "His comments are his own and not what is expected of our officers. The Department will not comment any further on an ongoing personnel matter that is subject to legal action."

After a Post-Dispatch column reported last week that Wiegert is now a lobbyist for Show-Me Cannabis, Dotson released an initial statement saying the lobbying was not appropriate.

Sam Dotson 1.JPG
Sam Levin
Sam Dotson, speaking at an event in January.

And since then, the department has made efforts to block the lobbying work altogether, Wiegert's attorney alleges.

Wiegert, a former St. Louis Police Officers Association president, supports the effort to decriminalize marijuana, which has gotten traction this year at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. This local initiative is aimed at moving minor offenses from the Circuit Attorney's Office to the lower court system. It is not a legalization effort.

Wiegert's lawsuit may be filed as early as this morning.

Watkins claims that Wiegert applied for a secondary employment permit with the department last month, which he says must be filled out by every officer looking to do outside work, whether it be moonlighting as a security guard, painting somebody's house -- or lobbying.

Continue for more on Gary Wiegert's allegations against St. Louis metro police.



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74 comments
James Filanda
James Filanda

Freedom of speech!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ginger Harris
Ginger Harris

Yes I think he should!! What kind of question is that?

Becca Seibert Haase
Becca Seibert Haase

Yes! NORML decriminalize, legalize, and regulate I hope will be the progression during my lifetime.

Derek Polston
Derek Polston

should be able to do what he wants, as long as its legal....its what america is all about, and so he should stand for his rights..

Jim Ploudre
Jim Ploudre

No, the officer needs to be fired immediately

Chris Brooks
Chris Brooks

I think an American citizen has the right to say whatever they want regardless of what or who they work for.

Marcelle Ward
Marcelle Ward

That looks like THAT CHRONIC!!!! I can hear people coughing right now!

Christina M Kettmann
Christina M Kettmann

Yes, I do. I would think he's more well informed because he's an officer.

Brewneaux Welldone
Brewneaux Welldone

Yes. @ Norm Manis ...Why don't you leave if you're so tired of it. Don't wanna smoke pot......Don't do it. If you think it's the same as other drugs I have some land you may wanna see.........hey got a beer?

Wil Grundon
Wil Grundon

Allowed? He should be forced! Marijuana laws clog up the legal system with non-violent, non-threatening offenders and take time away from important things like the rash of murders and burglaries that are happening in STL right now.

Rick Rios
Rick Rios

Hell yes - I think any private citizen should be able to do as they please during their free time. 'Murrica.

Andrew James Cox
Andrew James Cox

You are an idiot if you think "decriminalizing" marijuana means making it legal and you should probably read the article before commenting in such a dogmatic way.

Nathan Nico Vize
Nathan Nico Vize

Yes not only is he an American citizen but has the credentials to comment on the matter of the illegal substance and its distribution. Plus if he took the otherside of the argument, the question probably wouldn't have been asked.

Ben Muehleisen
Ben Muehleisen

He's kind of an idiot with a bad hairpiece, so let him do what he wants.

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

St. Louisan's gaze longingly toward Colorado & Washington..... What took them 5-10 years to accomplish will take double that in the Shoot Me State. We keep locking up these minor offenders, and have to make more room for them in prison by letting violent offenders go. Funny how a bunch of old, out of touch farts in Jeff city run the show for the entire state, even though they're in the minority....

Weigart should pool resources with St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn :)

Thomas Thale
Thomas Thale

Sure, as long as he explains that it is still illegal and that he will arrest you if he catches you. Until the law is change he must do his job!

Jim Volner
Jim Volner

He is being PAID..... He is a LOBBYIST! They might not even be his own views. Maybe the STL PD should pay their guys more.

Jim Volner
Jim Volner

Madison, since when can people get hired and fired because of their personal views? Oh wait... Military, Boy Scouts now the police? Homophobic much? Change isn't always a bad thing.

Michael Stricker
Michael Stricker

Free speech and besides the police see the effects of alcohol every day and know it is much more dangerous than pot!

Jim Volner
Jim Volner

Freedom..... Bahaha Drones can watch me smoke my legalized cannabis some day!

Jeremy W. Dace
Jeremy W. Dace

Come on people it's a conflict of interest. He's sworn to hold the law if he agrees or disagrees with it. If his conviction is that heavy on legalize then quit

James Madison
James Madison

A police officer lobbying to change the law must make 100% certain his personal views do not interfere with his duty to enforce the law. Does this officer turn a blind eye towards a kid smoking a joint? If so, the officer is unfit for the uniform. the policeman is not the judge or jury. He must follow the law and arrest those breaking the law, regardless of his person beliefs. That is the issue at hand. We would not tolerate a police officer going around telling poverty stricken kids it is justified for them to steal food. Enforce the laws. Sympathy is one thing, but the law must be enforced. Let the law makers and justice system decide if a punishment fits the crime. I'm unsure how the Police Department can be sure this officer will enforce the law given his personal views. How many busts for smoking a joint has this officer made? None? Fire him.

Thee Lovingcup
Thee Lovingcup

Yes. And a police officer can give their opinion on gun issues just the same. Marijuana prohibition is a waste of money and a complete failure.

Andrew McKay
Andrew McKay

Why would you guys even post such a dumb question?

Erin Seago
Erin Seago

Absolutely! It's his right to lobby for whatever he pleases.

William Fague
William Fague

Better to have a pig at home on Saturday or Sunday smoking bud than a pig tweaking during the week at work. Reading a 17 year old the riot act, getting in his face, and REALLY MAKING THE MINOR WANT TO STICK HIM IN THE KIDNEY WITH HIS VISIBLE BLADE.

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