HB 641
This bill makes it a class A misdemeanor to be caught in possession of less than 35 grams of Marijuana or synthetic marijuana but a class C felony to be in possession of 35 or more grams of the same substance.

Before I go further I need to express that I do not condone the use of narcotics, also, I do not condone the use of alcohol or cigarettes and neither do I now, nor have I ever used any of them. I am simply trying to filter this issue through the principles of liberty.

I am not for an outright deregulation of everything but I do have a couple of problems with this bill when I look at it through the lens of liberty. Please give me your thoughts.
  1. The arbitrary restrictions. Who decided that 35 grams of synthetic marijuana is the difference between a misdemeanor and a felony?
With this bill, if a kid gets caught with less than an ounce and a half of synthetic marijuana then he faces felony charges and up to seven years in prison. It is unknown how much 1.3 ounces of marijuana or synthetic marijuana cost the tax payer if the person is not caught but we do know that that a year in prison will cost the taxpayer $16,308.20 and that is just the cost for holding them. After the holding cost, there are court cost and then there is the “ripple effect” cost because now we took a taxpayer off the street that the rest of the tax payers must make up for (assuming that the new convict paid sales tax or any payroll taxes).
Now please keep in mind that if a person is convicted and charged with a felony for the possession of 1.3 ounces of marijuana or synthetic marijuana, a non violent crime, we will charge the taxpayers over $16,000 a year to lock him up with real bad criminals such as sex offenders or those guilty of theft or assault.
  1. These punishments are for possession.
If I possess a gun, I am not breaking the law. If I use my gun to deprive someone of their rights through violence or coercion, then I am breaking the law. We are making a felony out of the possession of a substance that directly affects only the user when it is used. I’m willing to go out on a limb here and say most of the time the possession of these substances does not create a victim and therefore should not constitute a felony charge. I think this is bad policy and our prison cells should be used to protect us from those that want to turn us into victims. The purpose of government is to protect peoples rights so how does the government justify creating a law against an act that does not infringe on the rights of others.
  1. The inconsistency of it all.
I was the only Republican NO vote on this bill and it only took about 30 seconds for my colleges to point that out to me. We create more laws and more laws because we think it is a function of government to regulate the personal habits of citizens but that is a false belief. The irony here is that we regulate according to our perspective of morality which does nothing but ultimately prevent equality under the law. If government would just stick to its'  purpose of protecting the rights of everybody, then finding equality under the law would be much easier    For example, we are going to outlaw synthetic cannabis because it's bad for people to smoke but the same people who voted to make these extra substances illegal will never do anything to make cigarettes or alcohol illegal because these are the harmful substances that they enjoy. Alcohol and cigarettes are both addictive and they both kill thousands of Missourians every year. The use of alcohol directly contributes to a disease that often helps to split homes, encourage unemployment and in addition to that, it continues to kill people on our highways on almost a daily basis. There is no known case of a death (as far as I can find) from an overdose of cannabis but the same cannot be said for alcohol. After a legislative session adjourns, in Washington DC or Jefferson City, you will no doubt find legislators at some establishment drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes either socially or because they are addicted, but then the next day they will attribute a felony statute for the mere possession of a drug that is far less addictive than nicotine and alcohol. So as long as these inconsistencies dominate the halls of government, I do not think it is reasonable to expect our tax policy, judicial policy, or any other function of government to be fair and just.

There is hope. I was told later in the evening by several legislators that they think they should have voted the way I did. I’m optimistic that my defense of liberty and the personal responsibility that goes with it will begin to spread until it becomes the focal point of everything we do in the legislature.

Now remember, I am NOT advocating drugs, alcohol, or nicotine, I am simply trying to filter this issue through the principles of liberty.