As Missouri heads into a general election with a possible medical cannabis ballot measure and the prospect for further legislative reforms, it’s important for constituents to understand the stances of the contenders in the governor’s race, as this executive will be a key figure in implementation. It’s worthwhile then considering recent official actions by one contender, the Democratic nominee and current Attorney General Chris Koster.
This May, the Missouri Supreme Court heard the marijuana felony sentencing appeal of Natalie DePriest, who received a 15 year sentence for 20 marijuana plants. Natalie appealed on Eighth Amendment grounds, claiming that her sentence was cruel and unusual.
In response, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a brief parroting the Obama Administration’s stance that marijuana has no medical use:
“There is also substantial reason to question Ms. DePriest’s allegations about the risks associated with marijuana use. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law, “meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
If Chris Koster is elected governor of Missouri, we’ll be electing someone who is openly hostile to our cause. Moreover, if Koster has to implement a medical cannabis program in this state, it appears clear that he’ll favor his political cronies — groups like Noah’s Arc Foundation, which is one of the two licensees producing marijuana for cannabidiol (CBD) oil in Missouri under a 2014 law.
In fact, the lobbyist representing Noah’s Arc is Koster campaign surrogate Jane Dueker, an attorney in St. Louis. Dueker also represents Laclede Cab (who is lobbying hard to quash Uber in St. Louis) and MO State Rep. Penny Hubbard (D-78), who is currently embroiled in an investigation over absentee voter fraud in her recent election. Dueker has also represented Automatic Traffic Solutions, the company that brought red light cameras to Missouri traffic enforcement.
Last month, General Koster announced he was suing vendors selling legal imported hemp-derived CBD products — ostensibly at the behest of Noah’s Arc and Jane Dueker, who with no evidence claimed that these vendors were “snake oil salesmen” selling “fake” product (disclosure: I’ve raised money for an electoral campaign from at least one such vendor, the CBD Store in Kansas City, that received a cease and desist letter from Koster; they only dispense lab tested products that I’m aware of).
In other words, Koster’s campaign surrogate Jane Dueker is someone who has made a career working for people who are looking to protect their oligopolistic cartels — whether at the ballot box or in the market. If Koster is our next governor, I have no doubt he will implement a law in as limited a fashion as possible, with access limited to people looking to extract oligopoly profits from Missourians suffering from a variety of cannabinoid-treatable conditions.