Big Head Press

L. Neil Smith's
Number 644, November 13, 2011

"Who do you trust more, somebody who will tell you the
truth, no matter how unpleasant it may turn out to be,
or somebody willing to lie to you to keep you happy?
Better make up your mind—if you haven't already—
because we have a lot of unpleasant truths to deal
with, if we want to save America."

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Missouri Referendum on Marijuana
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

The marijuana legalisation effort in Missouri now has two petitions in circulation regarding pot in the Show Me state. One asks to amend the constitution, the other asks to amend Missouri law. Both have the same basic language:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:

  • legalize cannabis (commonly known as marijuana) for individuals 21 years or older;
  • make medical cannabis available to individuals with a physician's recommendation including those under 21 with parental or legal guardian consent and physician supervision;
  • create licensing processes for operation of cannabis establishments;
  • release individuals incarcerated or on probation or parole for non-violent, cannabis-only offenses which would no longer be illegal and expunge all records related to such offenses; and
  • allow the legislature to enact a tax on the retail sale of dried cannabis up to $100 per pound.

Annual state government operating costs would increase by at least $1 million with the total increase being unknown. Those costs would be offset by an unknown increase in fee and tax revenues. The fiscal impact to local governmental entities is unknown with some increase in revenue possible.

The Missouri secretary of state web site further notes: "Before any constitutional changes can be brought before Missouri voters in the November 2012 election, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to eight (8) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. For statutory changes, signatures must be obtained from registered voters equal to five (5) percent of the total votes cast in the 2008 governor's election from six of the state's nine congressional districts. Signatures on behalf of all initiative petitions for the 2012 ballot are due to the Secretary of State's office by no later than 5 p.m. on May 6, 2012."

So, from wikipedia, we find that 2,877,778 votes were cast in the 2008 governor's election, on this page Which means that if the necessary signatures were only 8% of the votes cast, the petition for a constitutional change would require 230,223 signatures (rounding up to the nearest individual).

However, that's not what is required. Instead, the petition gatherers must go into each of at least six of the nine congressional districts and gather signatures in that district equal to or greater than 8% of the votes cast for governor in that district. Presumably there is a page somewhere, possibly even on the secretary of state's web site, indicating how many votes were counted in each congressional district. Were I more interested in this issue, I'd look for that page. Mind you, I don't for a moment believe that the number of votes cast is the number of votes counted.

The requirement for 5% of the vote for changing the law would be only 143,889 signatures, if it were that simple. But it isn't that simple. Again, the petition gatherers have to figure out which congressional districts to target, and get 5% of the vote for governor from 2008 for at least six of the nine congressional districts.

I don't think the state of Missouri wants to make this process easy. For one thing, I've looked, briefly, for a break-down of votes by congressional district. I didn't find one. One would want to imagine that the people working on this petition project are going to bother with working out how many signatures they need in each congressional district in order to conform to the legal requirement. If so, it is possible that they'll work out which county (or which *parts* of a county) are in which congressional district. In that eventuality, this listing would be useful to them:

Meanwhile, I don't agree with the petition. I don't agree with asking the government for permission to do what I already have the right to do. I don't agree with asking the government to regulate anything. I don't agree with asking the government to tax anything. I don't agree with asking the government to license anything.

While I certainly agree with releasing prisoners who are incarcerated for non-violent non-crimes, I do not believe that it is possible to end plantation slavery by having a vote of the slaves. Nat Turner had the right idea. The people of Haiti were correct in overthrowing the system of plantation slavery. The people who profit from the prison industry won't allow their profits to disappear simply because you don't want them to profit. And, yes, I do think that those who put people in cages should be subject to direct retaliation by their victims. If you put people in cages for a living, and someone you are caging kills you, it is not aggression, in my view.

Moreover, I don't think this petition is going to do any more good than any of the many others of its type. Obama is a liar. He lied about ending the raids on medical marijuana clinics, just as he lied about closing Guantanamo, just as he lied about ending the war in Iraq within 18 months of taking office, just as he lied about many other things. Moreover, he is bought and paid for by the big banks, by the prison industry, and by the defence contractor community, judging by his FEC filings of major contributors, in my view.

I would rather see people continue to buy and sell pot without regard to what the politicians say. Someone I think of very highly said, recently, "What you think about, you bring about, ignore the politicians." I think that's correct.

Asking the people of Missouri to sign petitions is engaging the system politically. I believe in disengagement, withdrawal, disobedience, and agorism. While it is certainly possible that some people who encounter these petition drives and some people who see stories (slanted) in the lamestream media are going to see some part of the truth, I don't think that changes enough to involve myself in, as I see it, getting on my knees and begging for my freedom.

It does not involve a majority's approval that I am free. I am free because I say so, and because I'm willing to back up what I say. I tire of efforts to "win" freedom through documentary action. None of the documents that have supposedly been designed to limit government have succeeded. I see no reason to throw more effort at yet another such document.

Jim Davidson is an author, entrepreneur, and anti-war activist. His 1990 venture to offer a sweepstakes trip into space was destroyed by government action as was his free port and prospective space port in Somalia in 2001. His 2002-2007 venture in free market money and private stock exchange was destroyed by government action in 2007. He's going to Mars if he has to walk.

His third book, a joint effort with Harry Felker and Shaun Lee, is now available from Lulu.

His second book, Being Sovereign is availble from Lulu and Amazon. It has also been released as an ePub from

Contact him at or Come visit IndSovU teams at gatherings in December 2011 in Florida, and March 2012 in Austin, Texas. Or join State Busters [see below].

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