Show-Me Cannabis, Missouri's marijuana reform advocacy group, has been spreading the word across the state about the need for more sensible pot policies -- and eventually hopes to push for legalization. Next week, the group was supposed to run a booth at Pointfest, 105.7 the Point's annual festival, but yesterday announced that Verizon Wireless Amphitheater had rejected its application.
Why? The managers reportedly were worried about having marijuana advocacy take place at their venue.
"People are just afraid of this issue a lot of the time," John Payne, Show-Me Cannabis executive director, tells Daily RFT. "It perpetuates this fear that people have.... And then no one talks about it and it gets worse."
And Payne says this is not the first time the group has been shut down by a company afraid of even giving marijuana activists a platform.
See also: - Venue Realizes "Cannabis" Means Pot; Rejects Show-Me Cannabis Fundraiser - 106.5 The Arch Refuses to Air Pot Reform Ad, Says Topic is Too Controversial - Francis Slay On Pot: "I'm Not For Legalizing Marijuana. It Sends A Bad Message."
Representatives from Verizon Wireless Amphitheater did not respond to Daily RFT's requests for comment yesterday afternoon or this morning.
According to Payne, Show-Me Cannabis has been coordinating with the Point and was planning on manning a booth at the event and had even sent in a payment (which has since been refunded). The group would've been handing out literature, explaining their cause to attendees and selling wristbands and t-shirts.
He was soon told, however, that the amphitheater had rejected his vendor application. He was finally able to talk to Verizon Wireless General Manager D.J. Lindfors, who, Payne says, told him that "he was concerned that allowing a booth advocating marijuana legalization would strain the amphitheater's relationship with the city and its police force, many of whom the venue employs as part time security."
After an initial phone conversation, Lindfors called again to confirm that "even after further consideration, the amphitheater was sticking with its decision to exclude Show-Me Cannabis from Pointfest."
Initially, Payne had heard that there may have been concerns about local police shutting the group down, but, just to be sure, he says he spoke with Maryland Heights police officials, who assured him that they would not stop the group.
Show-Me Cannabis, the police officials reportedly told him, has a First Amendment right to speak out.
Continue for more of our interview with Show-Me Cannabis and the group's full announcement.