In 2017, we worked with Missouri State Rep. Dr. Jim Neely (R-Cameron) on House Bill 437, a bill that would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program. The fiscal note attached to the bill indicated that the State of Missouri believed that this program would be comparable to the medical marijuana program in Oregon, a pretty good benchmark:
However, as soon as this bill was filed, we found that Lynne Schlosser, a long time liquor industry lobbyist who had begun taking marijuana clients, was working to kill this bill. This mystery was resolved when we found out that Lynne represented Show-Me Cannabis, the grassroots arm of the New Approach Missouri campaign (attorney Dan Viets is the Chairman of both organizations, and John Payne is the executive director of both organizations). We were sent a weekly report of Lynne Schlosser’s from Feb. 24, 2017, which indicated that she was actively working to kill this legislation:
Because of this opposition, Rep. Dr. Neely was forced to accept compromises to the bill, including paring it down to terminal illness.
Why would Dan Viets and John Payne order their lobbyist to kill this marijuana bill? The answer is simply that Rep. Neely’s proposal did not include any numerical restrictions on licensing or artificial barriers to entry. Without limiting licensing, New Approach Missouri could not promise major donors entry into an oligopoly market, which has been their fundraising strategy since Travis Maurer founded New Approach Missouri.
I’ve previously written about how the New Approach Missouri constitutional initiative proposes to restrict licensing, and how former New Approach Missouri board chair Mike Kielty thought he could create a cartel of non-competiting licensees, here: https://ducksandeconomics.com/2017/10/09/how-20-operators-could-monopolize-missouris-medical-marijuana-industry/