MO State Auditor Tom Schweich *probably* Announcing run for Governor Today

Missouri's favorite state Auditor is making a "major announcement" today at 4pm on the campus of UMSL. Everyone in the state believes this will kick-off his run for governor. I like Schweich. He has been a good auditor and is pursuing action against the municipal courts system here in MO as part of an on-going effort to clean those systems up. (While I am sure there is more to come on that front, it looks like our municipal courts system has some 'splainin to do.)

I wish Tom good luck in what I know will be a tough campaign. If you have a minute to stop by his press conference today, please do!

A Break from Pot Talk to talk about Pot…..

Purusing the headlines this morning I found an article (Here in it's entirety if you are so inclined.) in the Missourian in which the writer seems to have a problem with legalizing the "devil weed". As you all know we are going to explore our options and discuss legalization in Missouri over the next week or so, but I felt it important to point out the fallacies I find every single time with some of the arguments the writer makes.

So, let's get at it......
To supporters of recreational marijuana use, we pose this question: What is so unsatisfying or unfulfilling about your life that you feel a need to get high? .................................................................................................................................... Among the most frequent responses are: Marijuana is no worse than alcohol. That’s true. We recall a story last year with the headline: “Alcohol is still the deadliest drug in the United States, and it’s not even close.” Alcohol abuse is a scourge in our society. Consequences include accidents, fatalities, family breakups, job losses, health problems, legal issues and more.
To the opponents, I pose this question:
  • What is so unsatisfying or unfulfilling about your life that you feel the need to eat ice cream? or watch that soap opera? or read 50 Shades of Grey? or have an affair? or eat fast food everyday at lunch? or meddle in the choices of grown adults?
  • And conversely, what is so great about your life that makes you think a few drinks at happy hour with friends is ok? or that glass of wine with dinner? why do you go to the gym?
I think you can see where I am going with this. There are choices that people make everyday in their lives. Folks choose if they want to be happy, healthy and wise. And, they choose what that means to them. As a freedom lover you do not get to pick and choose what freedoms another is allowed to have. You don't have to like or even approve of someone's choices, but they are their choices to make. To the extent that there is no harm extended to you, you do not have the power to choose for another. Otherwise, you also like Obamacare and the EPA.
Alcohol prohibition in the United States has been tried; it failed. A comparison to alcohol is not a compelling reason to legalize another mood-altering substance, which experience has shown creates problems and is difficult, if not impossible, to repeal.
It’s my business if I want to get high; I’m not hurting anyone else.
That may be true for a person who lives in a vacuum. Otherwise, it is classic denial. A person who is impaired cannot be completely involved in activities with a spouse, children or friends. Impaired judgment impedes the ability to follow instructions, interact with co-workers or complete routine tasks. Getting high is about self, not about others.
To this silly argument, I would just like to point out, you already deal Every. Single. Day. with what might be hundreds of people that are high. Maybe you think this is part of the problem with society. That's fine. You are entitled to think whatever you want, but again, legalizing it or not does not change this fact. The only thing you accomplish by keeping cannabis illegal is possibly making criminals out of people who are doing ZERO harm to you or yours. People you like, who clean your house, care for your children, are your BEST friends; all for no other reason than you disagree with how they spend their alone time. You are ok with their doors being kicked in. Their dogs shot. Their families torn apart. Their lives ruined. You will sit in judgement of how much is too much or too little involvement with families, children and spouses, their ability to do their job or take on tasks, yet I guarantee lots of normal, regular people are already doing those things around you every day. Personally I think, if someone is not doing themselves to your satisfaction, you are the one with the problem. You do you, let them do them.

When we discuss legalizing pot, we have to be honest about what the real discussion is. If someone is a bad parent, a lazy bum, stealing to support their habit, using substances under-age-all of these things are already addressable with existing law. The legality of marijuana has nothing to do with it. If you blame pot for failings in the human race, we must revisit the whole "guns don't kill people, people kill people" argument.

Don't be a hypocrite.

The goal of every true freedom lover should always be to have the least amount of laws (and control) over the lives of others while maintaining order and giving the opportunity to prosper in society.

What do we Want? WEED! When do we want it? NOW!

There has been much discussion the last few years about legal weed. With many states enacting various pro-marijuana laws over the last 10 years (or more, for a select few) and in the more recent past, some states adding recreational use, debate rages across the land. Legalization, decriminalization, medical use, the options for not making felons out of the hippie next door and the vast array of options available to states-these are all points that must be considered. It is an issue fraught with opinions and limited research. Whether you smoke pot or not, it won't be long before there will be some type of marijuana legislation in your state. As a freedom lover and a capitalist, a free-market type of gal, I am excited for the prospect of it becoming legal in my home state. It is important that folks understand marijuana, the choices states face when changing their laws, how best to enact these changes so they are actually beneficial and how to provide a fair and reasonable path to that end. 

It is my plan to provide a multi-part post over the next few days to provide some evidence for legalization in my state of Missouri. I think my state legislature should take up not only marijuana legislation, but also industrial hemp. I think it is important for many reasons. If you believe in freedom, it's important. If you believe in capitalism, it's important. If you want to protect the environment and find new, renewable resources, it's important. If you want to fill the state coffers with tax revenue from industry and create jobs, it's important. If you would like to see less folks get dragged into the criminal justice system, it's important. There is no reason why the left and the right can't get behind this movement TOGETHER.

A couple of points today, then I'll leave you to be excited and open minded about the information forthcoming on these pages-of which there will be plenty!

First, I don't smoke pot. I have.....oh yes, in my youth I was quite the pot smoker. And so what? I gave it up in my 20's. I had a couple of kids. I had a good job. I started my own business. I just simply had other things I wanted to do. That was the choice I made, because it was right for me. When the girls were young, I crusaded against drugs of all types, as parents generally do. Did I feel hypocritical? Nope. Not in the least. As a parent, you always set limits on your kids. I also didn't encourage or tolerate under-age drinking or fast driving either. I didn't harp on the illegality of pot, because I always felt it being illegal was a non-starter, but I did point out the limits it would set on their life and, just like an alcoholic, if you (or someone you love) is dependant on any substance, it will send your life down a path you might not want. One of the more infamous lines in our household is "Choose your life, don't let it happen to you." In this debate I do think there is reasonable room for discussing age as a factor in the laws. But, just as most people I know don't want the government raising their kids, it is up to the parents to instill the core values they believe are right for their family in their kids. You do it with family, you do it with futures, you do it with already do it with drugs. Changing the law changes nothing when it comes to raising your kids.

Second, I know lots of pot smokers. Tons. Some are business men and women, in professional positions. Some are lazy bums, with no job and no prospects. I wouldn't want them to be a big part of my life. What does this prove? That just like people you know in life, pot smokers are a large, diverse part of society. I guarantee at least one neighbor of yours smokes pot occasionally. Most likely there is someone within a 10 block radius of you that grows pot in their basement. And your doctor smokes it. Or banker. Or financial advisor. Probably a couple of teachers in your kids school. And, yes, that guy you work with, his brother-in-law that can't quite seem to get off the couch and get a job, he is just as likely to be a pot smoker as not......but frankly, pot isn't that guys problem. There is no good, clear-cut evidence that people like that wouldn't be bums, without motivation or prospects, even absent pot. This is very important. I also find the research pointing to lower IQ's and test scores to be suspect at best. And, the fact is, there are likely things we non-pot smokers do that aren't good for our bodies, our brains or our lives, everyday that are totally legal. Does watching too much TV make you less smart? Does spending too much time on the Internet slow down your ability to think? Does all that sitting and relaxing you're doing make you less healthy? I mean seriously, as adults, we all make choices everyday on how we want to live our lives. I don't put much weight on those studies because I know too many people who are extremely intelligent, are super motivated and have everything going for them that smoke pot. If they are slightly less than they could have been, who cares. They are still much more than I will ever be. It is not societies prerogative to decide how much of our potential we should live up to. Conversely, there are plenty of people who never smoke pot that don't live up to their full potential-because they don't want to.

Finally, there are lots of choices that need to be made when debating the issue of legal weed and hemp. It is important you know the difference. It is also important to realize you can have one without the other, if you so choose and it is easy to tell the difference. Of note, if you do your research you will also find that allowing industrial hemp does not in fact lead to rampant weed growing. They are different crops and a good pot grower wouldn't be caught dead growing their prize pot-crop next to a field of hemp. Also, when considering the issue there are varying degrees of legalization including, decriminalization (better than nothing), medical use (kind of silly), home grows (excellent), retail sales (creates a government run cartel), and full out legalization (mostly good). These all present with positives and negatives, like anything else, and it is up to us to decide what is going to work best in our state. Don't worry, I will clarify my positions briefly shown above in later posts. This just gives you a peek at what I think. Also, don't send me a bunch of hate comments on the medical use remark up there. I don't think it is silly because I don't believe it works-I know it has many medicinal uses. I think it is silly because medical use only encourages people to go ahead and be law breakers. It sets up a system of people trying to skirt silly laws to get what they want. Can you imagine if we required that people have a medical reason for growing tomatoes or drinking booze? I mean, who cares what ones reason for smoking pot is-either it should be legal or not in the eyes of the law. We don't need to put people in ridiculous positions when simply allowing it lets medical and recreational users alike be law abiding citizens.

I will leave you with this: I have a very liberal (and I know, radical) position that ALL drugs should be legal. However, for the purposes of this series I am sticking to the evil weed. I think it is the least offensive and most widely used, and I think it has a lot of value beyond just gettin' stoned and eating Twinkies. I hope you'll take the evidence I present to heart and really evaluate from a strong position, your stance on reefer.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts too!

Do the Speed-Trap Mayors Want You To Drive Dangerously?


Original Post: Do the Speed-Trap Mayors Want You To Drive Dangerously?.

I had the rare honor of testifying before the Missouri Senate committee on Economic Development. The hearing’s subject was Senator Eric Schmitt’s Senate Bill 5 to reign in traffic court abuses in Missouri. Here’s some perspective: St. Louis County accounts for 22 percent of Missouri’s population and over 50 percent of traffic tickets St. Ann’s … Continue reading Do the Speed-Trap Mayors Want You To Drive Dangerously?

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How to Define Tom Schweich With One Word


Original Post: How to Define Tom Schweich With One Word.

Work screwed up my plans. Our annual St. Louis Tea Party / Heritage Action Christmas Party started at 6:00 in the evening on December 17. I knew Auditor Tom Schweich planned to attend, and I looked forward to seeing him. About 3:00 the problems started. People scurrying to wrap up projects before the Christmas break … Continue reading How to Define Tom Schweich With One Word

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Municipal Courts Initiative

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich announced the Municipal Courts Initiative this morning. Schweich's auditors will be looking for, among other things: compliance with Mack's Creek Law (revenue generated from traffic violations exceeding 30% of total revenue for municipalities shall be remitted to the state), statistics on warrants, and corruption. Ten municipalities throughout Missouri have been targeted though Schweich noted that this list was not exclusive: Bella Vista, Ferguson, Pine Lawn & St. Ann in STL County; Foristell in St. Charles County; Foley & Winfield in Lincoln County; Leadington in St. Francois County; Linn Creek in Camden County; Mosby in Clay...

Once More Unto the Breach

Once more unto the breach, dear friends, once more; Or close the wall up with our English dead. In peace there's nothing so becomes a man As modest stillness and humility: But when the blast of war blows in our ears, Then imitate the action of the tiger; Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood, Disguise fair nature with hard-favour'd rage; Then lend the eye a terrible aspect; Let pry through the portage of the head Like the brass cannon; let the brow o'erwhelm it As fearfully as doth a galled rock O'erhang and jutty his confounded base, Swill'd with...

ACTION: Tell Missouri Legislature to Pass Tax Holiday for Ferguson


Original Post: ACTION: Tell Missouri Legislature to Pass Tax Holiday for Ferguson.

We’ve officially kicked off the #Ferguson BUYcott, but we’re far from done. First, we’re asking people to keep the BUYcott going while we organize a bigger event for Labor Day Weekend. Second, I texted Missouri House Speaker Tim Jones on Thursday with another idea: an emergency Sales Tax Holiday for Ferguson/Dellwood area.  Please contact your…

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It’s Hard to Deny North County Has Problems with Police and Courts


Original Post: It’s Hard to Deny North County Has Problems with Police and Courts.

What did you think when you first heard reports of violence in Ferguson? I mean, after the shooting death of Michael Brown? Did you ever for a moment think, “this is about more than just Michael Brown?” I hate to say that. It’s embarrassing to admit that I’m so jaded as to think “that’s all”…

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Ferguson is the Canary in the Coal Mine” for St. Louis County


Original Post: Ferguson is the Canary in the Coal Mine” for St. Louis County.

The next St. Louis County Executive better brace himself for this: poverty is exploding in the county. I’m not saying poor people do bad things. I’m saying that, at some point, eliminating jobs and hope will drive people to take things. And they will take things by force. And they will show no mercy to…

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