Last night on Toker Talk Radio (5pm Pacific http://live.norml.org), John Payne from Show Me Cannabis Regulation, a group fighting to legalize marijuana in Missouri, called in to inform us of breaking news. It seems two petition gatherers were arrested in St. Charles, Missouri on Jan. 15, by police who claimed they we “soliciting without a permit”. John was calling us to announce a protest at City Hall last night
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It appears now the City of St. Charles managed to remember about this little thing called the First Amendment…
(Freedom Center of Missouri*) St. Louis, Missouri—In response to pressure from the Freedom Center of Missouri, St. Charles City Attorney Mike Valenti announced this morning that the City will drop charges against two petition circulators who were cited last weekend for gathering signatures on the city’s public sidewalks.
This controversy was sparked in the early hours of January 15, when two volunteers with the Show-Me Cannabis Regulation campaign were gathering signatures on North Main Street in St. Charles. The ballot initiative seeks to legalize the production, sale, and use of marijuana under Missouri law and to regulate it in a manner similar to tobacco or alcohol. Two police officers approached the petition circulators, issued them citations for “soliciting without a permit,” and confiscated some of the petitions, which included approximately fifty signatures. Acting on behalf of the volunteers, the Freedom Center of Missouri insisted that the First Amendment required the City to drop the charges, return the seized petitions, and to destroy any copies the police had made of those petitions. The City has agreed to comply.
* Which has the eminently cool URL: mofreedom.org.