By Mark Anthony Jones, former chairman of the Jackson County (MO) Republican party & cannabis entrepreneur
In a recent op-ed published by Greenway Magazine, outgoing Missouri State Senator Bob Onder says “it’s not in the best interest of Missouri to become the next Wild West of medical marijuana”, claiming that “...an unlimited number of licenses to grow, manufacture, and dispense medical marijuana...will see marijuana dispensaries on every street corner and an oversupply of product that could end up supporting an unregulated black market.”
As Senator Onder himself admits, “I have long had concerns about marijuana legalization” and “was not supportive” of the proposal that ultimately became law in Missouri. In a 2018 interview with Jason Rosenbaum & Rachel Lippman of St. Louis Public Radio, Onder said, “I really believe there’s a lot of money for the pot entrepreneurs to be made. And I really think patients are being exploited to get their ultimate goal — which is to full legalization and to make money.”
Has there been any greater champion for the black market than Bob Onder?
But it gets worse. Now that the voters have put medical marijuana into the Missouri Constitution, Senator Onder wants Missouri to protect the limits on marijuana business licenses that are the focus of great controversy, allegations of corruption, and a likely federal investigation.
In the 2020 legislative session, Missouri State Representative Ben Baker of Neosho, an extremely conservative Republican and pastor, proposed removing the limits on marijuana licenses. Senator Onder’s response? “Fortunately, this problematic amendment didn’t become law.”
In America, we have a word for government central planning of the economy...socialism.
It’s not enough for Senator Onder that ordinary Missouri entrepreneurs, including those from racial minorities and communities impacted by the War on Drugs, have been excluded from a new industry and a new market. It’s not enough for Senator Onder that the gold rush for control of the marijuana market has created a political environment ripe for graft and pay-to-play corruption, undermining the legitimacy & functionality of our government. In Senator Onder’s world, Missourians will continue to be excluded from the right to earn a living & continue facing incarceration & criminalization for marijuana use & possession.
As a conservative Republican & former chairman of the Jackson County Republicans who owns and operates a marijuana dispensary in Pocola, Oklahoma, I can tell you that the free market is a vastly superior system to Senator Onder’s socialist worldview. Yes, Oklahoma needs higher standards for marijuana testing and distribution. Yet, Oklahoma is a shining example of the best way to create a marijuana industry by protecting opportunity for all. We need more conservative champions like Ben Baker and fewer socialists like Bob Onder.
This is the American way, and it is what Missourians should stand up for as this great experiment in freedom advances.