Turning Missouri Green

Turning Missouri green by changing prohibitionist attitudes.

By: Cecil King

Turning Missouri Green

Missouri cannabis activists and hopeful cannabis business entrepreneurs will win half the battle when legal cannabis becomes law.

The remaining battle will not only involve working with Missouri lawmakers to fine tune and perfect the rules and regulations to allow the new industry to start, but it will also involve changing entrenched prohibitionist attitudes within government and law enforcement that have existed for decades.

An obstructionist Missouri bureaucracy, unfriendly elected officials and prohibitionist legislators could easily delay and stall implementation of legal cannabis in the Show-Me State.

Alaska’s pending retail cannabis industry launch is an example of how elected officials and appointed bureaucrats can hamper progress. Licenses for Alaska’s first retail cannabis shops have already been delayed from late spring to mid-summer by Alaska’s Marijuana Control Board. Governor appointees sit on the Marijuana Control Board. It’s the regulatory entity responsible for establishing the rules for Alaska’s fledgling cannabis industry.

Alaska’s Gov. Bill Walker recently removed Bruce Schulte, a key member of the 5-person board and former chairman, on July 29, leaving an empty slot on the board. Schulte was one of the cannabis industry representatives mandated by the HB 123 (Establish Marijuana Control Board) law. It is uncertain if another industry representative will replace him.

Cannabis industry experts are anticipating retail licenses will be further delayed until September.

“I believe there is another agenda at work here,” exclaimed Schulte to DJ Summers, Alaska Journal of Commerce, “and it is definitely not what the voters asked for. The appearance of transparency is, in my opinion, a thinly veiled facade intended to obscure the fact that they have no real intention of letting a lawful marijuana industry get started in Alaska.”

Peter Mlynarik, the Soldotna Chief of Police, replaced Schulte as Board Chairman at the June 9 meeting. Chairman Mlynarik is actively gathering signatures for a commercial cannabis ban in unincorporated areas of the Kenai Peninsula Borough south of Anchorage.

Cannabis activists and industry experts question Chairman Mlynarik’s anti-cannabis petition activity which they feel is in direct opposition to the spirit of what the MCB is attempting to accomplish.

While personnel changes under Gov. Walker have occurred before, a crippled regulatory board violates the mandate of HB 123.

Cannabis activists have fought the system, but continuing that fight with regulators to make workable laws will not achieve success, is the message from Todd Mitchem. Mitchem, a cannabis industry leader, activist, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur offers a different approach.

The former Chief Revenue Officer of OpenVape & Organa Labs, CEO & Co-Founder of High There, a cannabis social network app, and CEO & Co-Founder of ION Vape wants to apply his “#DisruptionEffect” and move on to the next phase of growth in the $5 billion cannabis space.

Mitchem advocates working with government regulators as collaborators and supporters to build a stronger cannabis industry.

“Activism got us here which we are grateful for, but activism is not a business model that will sustain as huge mainstream companies continue entering the Marijuana Industry,” offered Mitchem who spoke to the Conference of Western Attorneys General annual meeting in July.

The cannabis industry is moving toward cooperation with government to make the rules and establish standards. Together, “we can build a stronger industry and set the bar for regulation, all while doing what is right for consumers,” says Mitchem.