Lodge Backs Out Of Hosting Trivia Night: Didn’t Realize ‘Cannabis’ Is ‘Marijuana’

A pro legalization group in Missouri, Show-Me Cannabis, lost the venue to a trivia night they were planning because Elks lodge staff said they were unaware when they agreed to the night that “cannabis” is in fact marijuana.

Show-Me Cannabis was planning the trivia night to help promote a statewide legalization and regulation bill they hope to launch for 2014.

“We had reserved the room with a $200 deposit, all that stuff, and then yesterday I got an e-mail,” Show-Me-Cannabis treasurer John Payne told the RIVERFRONT TIMES.

The trivia night, which was supposed to be held at the lodge in Oakville Oct. 20, was already attracting attendees with about a dozen of the $200, eight-player tables were already reserved.  The committee said the tables would be used for drinking wine and beer, not smoking, though there would be “a couple of marijuana-themed rounds” of trivia.

Payne says when the group sent a deposit check in early September it had the name of the organization clearly printed across the top.

When the Elks understood what the group was about, a month later, they decided they wouldn’t be associated with an event promoting the legal sale of cannabis.

“Yesterday I got an email from the firm helping us plan the event,” Payne said.  “They said the Elks Lodge had backed out of it because of the nature of the cause.”

This left Payne scrambling to find a new venue with two weeks to go, but they managed to book an accommodating but smaller venue, Bar 101.

But Payne said he is not angry with the Elks.

“I’m not really mad at them; I think I understand their concern,” he said.  “Basically they think this could possibly attract unwanted legal attention to them.  This is what we have to face when we deal with this issue.  People are terrified of it.  It restricts our First Amendment rights to political speech.”

Payne’s party coordinator said the Elks later told him that allowing the trivia night would conflict with a drug policy that they have due to working with children.

Show Me Cannabis is a Missouri association of organizations and individuals who believe that cannabis prohibition is a failed policy, and who advocate for regulating cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol.  One of their recent projects has been to work on a petition in Springfield for that city to decriminalize.

The event and campaign continue to move forward and Payne asserts new signature gathering efforts will begin in early 2013.