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Reefer Rumble! Show-Me Cannabis Debates Missouri Drug Cop on Marijuana Legalization

pot_debate1.jpg
Legalization debate Wednesday night at the Ethical Society of St. Louis
Every parking spot and nearly every seat was taken at the Ethical Society Wednesday night as Show-Me Cannabis executive director John Payne took on Jason Grellner, the vice president of the Missouri Narcotics Officers Association to debate the pros and cons of marijuana legalization.

The buzz started with a Daily RFT post in October about retired Missouri drug cop Kevin Glaser's Facebook comments about what he saw as "stupid, lazy potheads" filling up a town hall meeting in Cape Girardeau on marijuana legalization. Payne, none too happy with the comments, challenged Glaser to a debate, but the ex-drug cop declined. However, when Daily RFT reached out to the MNOA's Grellner for comment (Glaser is a board member of the MNOA) and told him about Payne's challenge, he accepted.

Ever since then, St. Louis has been waiting for the Reefer Rumble. Even local TV news crews were there and Fox 2's Mandy Murphy moderated the debate.

For people who follow legalization news, no new revelations were discovered during the roughly two hour debate as both men repeated the things their sides often put forth:

Legalization will keep marijuana away from kids because its sale will be regulated as opposed to obtained on the black market, Payne says. No, legalization will make it easier for kids to get marijuana because their parents might have a pot brownie lying around and how will the kid know the difference, Grellner responds.

See also: - Missouri Drug Cop Says Marijuana Legalization Advocates Are Stupid Welfare-Sucking Potheads Who Probably Can't Read
- Missouri Drug Cop Who Blasted Marijuana Legalization Advocates Says He "Wouldn't Retract a Word"

Legalization will make it easier to regulate the potency of marijuana and, in effect, the drug will be safer than it already is (which is safer than alcohol), Payne says. Potency doesn't matter because even a single hit can get somebody high, Grellner responds.

"I can drink a glass of wine at dinner and not get intoxicated, but I've never heard of somebody taking one hit of marijuana and not getting high," Grellner actually said, which likely caused at least a few people in the audience to question the quality of their dealer's supply.

A highlight of the evening was when an audience member asked Grellner if he thought it is fair and just for somebody to serve life without parole for a marijuana offense. Flyers informing people about Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri's only inmate serving life without parole for marijuana-only offenses, were passed out before the debate.

See also: VIDEO: Meet Jeff Mizanskey, Missouri's Only Inmate Sentenced to Death in Prison for Pot

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One of the fliers

Grellner refused to give a yes or no answer, instead saying he didn't know enough about the case and sentences often take prior arrests and other details into consideration. But after the debate, Grellner told Daily RFT that a three-strike law for marijuana is "bad policy."

"What we should do is look at the three-strike policy that put [Mizanskey] in prison and we fix that policy," he says. "We don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and say 'the only way to fix it is to legalize marijuana.' The policy is bad."

Despite KSDK's video segment that portrayed the audience as undecided on the issue, the majority of the crowd was in favor of legalizing, based on applause for Payne's answers.

Click on the next page to see what some audience members thought...


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28 comments
kalareducational
kalareducational

Alcohol is a much greater social harm than cannibus, and cannibus is considerably healthier than alcohol and tobacco. It is only illegal because Hearst and others making money from forestry knew that hemp is a more practical source. Just watch "Reefer Madness" and you can see how absurd the propaganda was. So, only those willing to question the law and conventional morality (jazz musicians and beat writers, famously) ended up appreciating this MORE responsible choice before the 1960's. Even now, many seem to misunderstand marijuana, thinking that its effects are more like those of psychedelics such as Psilocybin or LSD. If you think that alcohol should be legal and marijuana illegal, you're either misinformed or a hypocrite. Period.

mkirkp2
mkirkp2

test??? where's my other comment???

Kevin Cook
Kevin Cook

Again, this guy keeps bringing up how he can have wine for dinner and not get intoxicated or without the intent of becoming intoxicated. What is the point of drinking wine then? Why doesn't he drink water then? How about the guy that has 2 highballs for dinner? Not a good comparison and stupid reasoning.

Thisis_Insane
Thisis_Insane

Next time you are having a debate about this subject and you want to have the legal side represented, contact LEAP ( leap.cc ) to ask for a speaker  who knows what the heck they are talking about. Grellner is a biased, brainwashed fool with no clue about cannabis.

cannabis
cannabis

cannabis is far safer than either alcohol or tobacco.
while the World Health Organization (WHO) is estimating 250 million deaths from alcohol consumption, and 1 billion deaths from tobacco use this century, cannabis is expected to cause ZERO deaths.

kevin_hunt
kevin_hunt topcommenter

"We don't throw the baby out with the bathwater and say 'the only way to fix it is to legalize marijuana.' ?


Yes, we do throw out the 'baby'.  Until marijuana is legal and regulated like alcohol, we will continue to see non-violent offenders such as Jeff Mizanskey tortured and abused by the legal system.


80 years of marijuana prohibition has not made marijuana less available and has NOT made the public safer.

Trommy
Trommy

How can a cop possibly say he supports the criminals that they have given this multi billion dollar industry to.  If you want to keep pot illegal you obviously want to keep the cartels and dealers in business.  They wont card your kid but they will introduce them to some other drugs like meth, heroin and cocaine.  So stand tall prohibitionist and take good care of your drug dealers.  They are depending on you!

alanmonrovia
alanmonrovia

According to Jim Bielsmith, the prohibitionist,  "People who grew up in the 60's and 70's when the drug culture was pervasive are now moved up in the stature of society. They're now becoming the elders, and their perception of it is different than their parents were."

So the pot-smoking youth of the 60s and 70s have now grown in stature. This argument flies in the face of the tired old lie that any use of marijuana will sap your ambition and destroy your life.

MikeParent
MikeParent

Every time they trot out "The Children" and how legalization puts them in jeopardy I have to ask, Wasn't every iota of marijuana consumed by minors done under prohibition?  How much more proof of failure do we need to end this policy?

Prohibitionists always find a way to justify their vices while condemning others.  They always substitute abuse for use when speaking of others. 

AFreedomFighter
AFreedomFighter

The US Government has been lying to the people about cannabis since 1920s! Not a single overdose death from cannabis in all medical history! Tobacco, booze and big pharma kill over 350,000 US Citizens per year. The truth about cannabis is OUT and the feds will never again be able to put it back in the closet. Road trip to Colorado this summer!  


According to numbers taken directly from the FBI:  Arrests for simple possession of cannabis equate to about 50 percent of all drug arrests in the US.  Over 600,000 victims are arrested annually  and increasing every year.  Cops working overtime at our expense to persecute  cannabis users!  This results in billions of dollars in lost taxpayer revenue,  lost work time and the destruction of lives for no reason.  And most importantly the diversion of vital law enforcement energies from dealing with violent crimes.  It is now perfectly clear that cannabis is safer by far than the legal corporate sponsored alternatives which kill over 350,000 people per year in the USA.   Critical mass has been reached. The People demand legalization of cannabis. Anyone who opposes this is either a darn fool or has some financial stake in victimizing citizens like drug, private prisons,  tobacco, or booze pushing corporations.   This includes rabid dog reefer madness law enforcement making a legal killing on the nearly $750,000,000 wasted yearly on  cannabis use and trade. END THE LIES and LEGALIZE!!!!


claygooding
claygooding

There have been wars over the hemp plant since man started cultivating it from nature thousands of years ago. Until 1937 all wars were fought for possession of the seeds and fibers produced by the plant usually by neighboring tribes/countries. In 1937 rich industrialists stole the hemp plant from America and in 1962 they stole it worldwide by having all the governments ban it.

We are watching that war wind down with hundreds of thousands dead around the world and millions of peoples lives destroyed using lies and racial bigotry to protect the profits of the rich,,,and still working.

David B Fowler
David B Fowler

Legal and taxed. Underground will be there. Dui law for it applies.

malcolmkyle16
malcolmkyle16 topcommenter

In addition to the many economical and societal costs of prohibition, it has a long history of driving the spread of harder or more dangerous drugs. Certain people wish/need to get high. If we attempt to block their access to the drugs they want, they will find ever more harmful ways to get them.


MARIJUANA to dangerous synthetic concoctions —such as AM-2201, JWH-018, JWH-073, or HU-210, (called Spice or K2 etc.)

POPPIES to morphine, to heroin, to Desomorphine (dihydrodesoxymorphine, Permonid, street name KROKODIL)

COCA to cocaine, to crack, to Paco/Kete/Bazuco/Pitillo.

EPHEDRA to ephedrine, to methamphetamine.

MUSHROOMS to ecstasy (MDMA), to PMMA, to MDPV, to 2CB/designers.


At every step the reasons for the rise in popularity of the new form of the drug are one or more of the following: 


* It may be easier to smuggle.

* It may be more addictive, thus compelling the buyer to return more frequently. 

* It may be cheaper to produce, therefore yielding more profit. 

* Like a game of "whack a mole" a shutdown of producers in one area will mean business opportunities for another set of producers with a similar product.


Prohibition's distortion of the immutable laws of 'supply and demand' subsidizes organized crime, foreign terrorists, corrupt cops, and unconscionable politicians, while feeding the prejudices of self-appointed culture warriors everywhere. So called Tough-On-Drugs politicians have happily built careers on confusing prohibition's horrendous collateral damage with the substances that they claim to be fighting while the big losers in this battle are everybody else, especially we the taxpayers. 


So how come so many of us have been deluded into believing that big government is the appropriate response to non-traditional consensual vices? 

mushuku
mushuku

Also, why is Grellner, an active narcotics detective, even speaking about these issues?  He is a police officer not a legislator, researcher, or medical expert.  He is paid to enforce existing drug laws not to shape public policy.    That said, it's not at all surprising that an individual, such as Grellner, whose financial welfare and future job security depend on the perpetuation of the Drug War would oppose efforts to liberate cannabis.  The public needs to consider the interests and the motivations of those opposing cannabis reform.  It tends to be individuals who benefit from the status quo.  I'm certain that Grellner and his fellow officers receive public  funding to enforce drug laws.   Therefore, it makes sense that officers like Grellner would fight to preserve the status quo.   He's not an objective or uninterested party.  His opposition is almost certainly motivated by a desire to protect his job, the jobs of his fellow officers, and the resources that his department receives to fight the Drug War.

mushuku
mushuku

Let's make this happen, Missouri.  It's time to end our nation's quixotic and divisive war on cannabis.  Predictably, police officials,  such as Grellner, will oppose this effort in order to protect their jobs and financial interests.  However, the people shouldn't be swayed.  By creating a legal market for cannabis, we can generate vital tax revenue for our cash-strapped state and begin the process of dismantling the massive underground drug market that exists in the US and is currently dominated by violent criminal gangs.  We need to stop imprisoning fellow Americans for non-violent drug crimes and liberate cannabis, a plant with proven medical properties that is far safer as a recreational substance than alcohol or cigarettes. 

mkirkp2
mkirkp2

Great. I guess after spending all that time typing it, it got erased when I signed in. Last time I waste any energy on this site. Thanks RFT.

kalareducational
kalareducational

Alcohol is a MUCH worse social ill than marijuana - I don't think anyone with actual knowledge of both feels otherwise.

claygooding
claygooding

@mushuku A narcotics officer,especially a commander,knows that his work depends on the funding received for drug busts and from seizures,,,sadly it is the same driving force behind the guy selling the drugs,,,money.

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