Missouri Pro-Marijuana Group Sues Local Drug Task Forces

By McCarton Ackerman 02/19/15

Show-Me Cannabis claims the state is purposely withholding information.

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A pro-marijuana group based out of Missouri is filing a lawsuit against numerous drug task forces in the state, claiming they are not complying with the state’s open records law and intentionally withholding information.

John Payne, the executive director of Show-Me Cannabis, has filed the suit against task forces in St. Louis and Kansas City, as well as one in mid-Missouri. Payne said that he believes certain information shouldn’t be open to the public during ongoing investigations, but also claims that information he is entitled to under Missouri’s Sunshine Law is being withheld. He has also accused the task forces of focusing more on pot busts than other drugs because there is more money to seize with less effort.

“There are actually some emails…that show that they have been trying to avoid answering these questions,” said Payne. “[We want] minutes of meetings and also the reports that the drug task forces have to submit to the department of public safety in order to get their funding every year."

Audrain County Sheriff Stuart Miller, who is on the board of directors for the East Central Drug Task Force, told ABC 17 News in a statement that they have complied with two of Payne’s request for information under Missouri’s Sunshine Law.

However, Miller said that their executive board meetings “are not open to the public when discussing topics such as current criminal investigations, criminal intelligence information, personnel matters and legal issues.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.