Posted on June 13, 2013 by Site Admin
Though the city of St. Louis officially adopted a marijuana reform law this month, one local police sergeant has not been able to publicly lobby for the cause.
Sgt. Gary Wiegert supports policy changes just like the new city ordinance, which moves cops to treat minor offenses like low-level traffic tickets in an effort to save law enforcement resources. But, as we've covered here, he has been stuck in a legal fight with his bosses at the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for months after he alleged in a suit that SLMPD violated his free-speech rights by refusing to let him work on the side as a paid pot lobbyist.
Now, a federal court has ordered Wiegert to re-submit his application to the department to work as a lobbyist for advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis. The order also directs SLMPD to "act with all deliberate speed" in reviewing his request.
In other words, the department has to decide whether it approves of one of its sergeants lobbying for marijuana reforms -- or lobbying on the side at all. The order came two weeks ago, and on Friday Wiegert formally submitted his request for secondary employment to the department. Both documents are on view below. Now, he's waiting for a decision from the department.
Before this controversy erupted, Wiegert was supposed to do lobbying work in Jefferson City to push for decriminalization policies at the state level.
Wiegert and his attorneys have argued that the department did initially approve his application to moonlight as a lobbyist, but then revoked it after officials read a Post-Dispatch column that revealed he would be working with a group associated with marijuana advocacy. (Advocates have pointed out that this was an odd move, given that the department and other St. Louis officials have generally supported this reform at the local level.)
SLMPD officials have repeatedly declined to comment citing pending litigation, but in at least one document, have disputed these claims. Police Chief Sam Dotson, in a March memo to Wiegert, said that he could not approve his application, because he didn't produce a business license issued by the city and failed to include a detailed explanation of his duties beyond "lobbyist activities."
Wiegert's lawyer, however, argues that the license was irrelevant and that this was clearly not the real reason the department was trying to block him. (An SLMPD spokeswoman again declined to comment to Daily RFT this week, referencing department policy to not speak on pending litigation.)
Regardless, it remains unknown whether the department will let him lobby after reviewing this new application. Some in the city say it's a conflict of interest for cops who work for the city to also work as paid lobbyists on the side.
"The department is screwed no matter what they do," Albert Watkins, Wiegert's attorney, tells Daily RFT. "They approved it, then it was retroactively revoked. Now they're going to, what, approve it again? Are they going to approve it again because they are fearful of a lawsuit?"
Watkins says that if the department rejects his request it is a violation of his First Amendment rights. But if it accepts the request, it is contradicting previous rejections.
While Wiegert is eager to lobby as he has originally planned, Watkins says, the continued pushback from SLMPD only helps to advance the cause -- by bringing more attention to pot reform.
In a very colorful written statement, Watkins writes:
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department has done more to advance the lobbying cause of Show-Me Cannabis than a big bag of Hawaiian bud thrown in the middle of a late night Taco Bell party. Maybe the powers that be at the Department should go out back and burn one during a break, it would certainly be time better spent than objecting to a lobbying cause already embraced by City lawmakers.
He adds to Daily RFT, "It brings attention to the very thing they are seeking to suppress."
We've helped thousands of happy customers start & run their medicinal & recreational businesses in all legal states. Whether you're serious, curious or just looking to gather information, GreenZipp can help.
Primarily through word-of-mouth alone, GreenZipp has become the company people trust to help start and run their legal marijuana businesses. For the last 4 years, people have been using GreenZipp because it's famously easy, straight forward, with no hidden costs. Combine that with our best-in-the-biz customer service, and you've got a unique and delightful offering of products and services.
We've been in business for 5 years, so you can depend on us to alleviate the anxieties and pressures of starting and running your business. Not once, has a single customer ever been in trouble with the law - ever. We're extremely proud of that number. Our job is to keep you safe and compliant with regulations and allow you to run your company without fear or anxiety. We've gone and will continue to go to the ends of the earth for our customers. Learn more about our company.
Many customers come to us saying that they've been told they need a lawyer to start their businesses. Sure, you can definitely use them, but you don't need them. Heck, you can even do it yourself if you don't mind putting in the time and making some costly mistakes from time to time. We take the complicated, confusing and time-consuming process of starting or running your marijuana business and boil it down to plain, detailed and easy-to-follow steps. Or, we can just do the whole process for you.
Here's the best part: We're so effective, lawyers and law firms hire us to service their marijuana industry clients for them.
Absolutely. You can see how our customers feel about us via an independently certified, 3rd party review website. We're extremely proud of our 5 out of 5 Star rating.
We offer a free Starter Package to help people understand the industry and us a little better. Check it out.
New business owners, seasoned entrepreneurs, investment groups and law firms all rely on GreenZipp. We've been fortunate to earn the repeat business of our customers, including some of the top lawyers and law firms in the country.
There's a lot of (mis)information out there. At best, it's usually speculation from non-professionals, old wive's tales or completely fabricated. It can be tough to navigate. With that in mind, here are a few things we've prepared for you:
GreenZipp is a medical & recreational marijuana consulting firm that's helped thousands of customers establish and run their marijuana businesses in all legal states since 2010. With industry-leading, streamlined and cost-effective products and services that abolish hourly & hidden fees, we'll be sure to make you happy.
We’ll send periodic news, new product releases and exclusive promotions.