MOScout Daily Update: Abortion Poll in Field - The Cost of MMJ Applications - Opioid Ruling Implications and more...

Driving the Day

KCStar reports that a “federal judge said Monday he will consider whether to temporarily block parts of Missouri’s new abortion law, including a ban on abortions after 8 weeks of pregnancy, from going into effect. In a hearing at the U.S. District Court of the Western District of Missouri’s Kansas City courthouse, Judge Howard Sachs said he will make decision Tuesday morning, the day before the law is set to be implemented…”

In the Field

I heard from someone that they took a twenty-minute live poll on their cell phone yesterday about abortion rights and the gubernatorial race.  They thought it was conducted by “VRI.”  Perhaps this firm?

·         Started off with horserace question for governor: Mike Parson or Nicole Galloway.

·         Then asked opinion of two versions of a constitutional amendment to secure reproductive rights.  One was broadly worded; the other a more detailed listing of rights.

·         They stated that Galloway supported these rights, and Parson had signed restrictions into law. And asked horserace question again.

·         Messaging arguments were stated (such as trusting women instead of a bureaucrat) and asked how convincing (very, somewhat, not at all) they were.

·         More messaging arguments (doctors could be prosecuted) and asked if they raised doubts about the law.

·         Back to horserace one more time.

·         Demographic information, including how often one attends religious service.

What It Means

·         The abortion debate could vie for the center ring of Missouri’s 2020 cycle. 

·         It has stiff competition.  2020 will most likely be a referendum on Donald Trump; or it could be defined by the “economy, stupid.”

·         But there are clearly forces mulling a strategy to put abortion rights before voters, and mulling its broader electoral impact.

 

The Biz of MMJ

St. Louis Business Journal has a really interesting interview with Mitch Meyers, “operating partner of BeLeaf Co. in Earth City, which produces CBD, a non-intoxicating marijuana extract, as well as a partner in suburban Chicago medical marijuana dispensary Nature’s Care Co.”

See it here.

How many applications did you and your partners file with the state of Missouri by the Aug. 19 deadline? Ten: three cultivation, two manufacturing and five dispensary.

How complicated was the process? The electronic filing was a challenge, especially if you didn’t have a tech wizard. I’ve made applications in other states, but not with electronic filing. I would say it was 400 to 500 pages per application. They would have been longer, but the state limited the number of words, including spaces, per questions. It added a layer of complexity. We had lawyers and tech people at Armstrong Teasdale, whom I consider the best, filing ours, but even they spent the last couple of days struggling.

Who are the big winners and losers so far? I bet 10% of the would-be applicants were unable to file because of the complexity of the electronic filing. The big winners were the real estate companies, because each applicant had to have real estate under control, bought or under leases of five to six months... I’m sitting here writing checks on empty buildings. That doesn’t even include lawyers, accountants, security people. It is estimated that for every $1 spent on the cannabis business itself, $3 is spent on ancillary services…

How much have you and your partners spent on your 10 applications so far – before you know whether you even have a license? Well north of $500,000. In addition to the real estate costs, hiring attorneys to write the applications is very costly because of the man hours.

What is your biggest concern? I have a feeling all the cannabis public companies are here and have applied — such as Curaleaf (OTCMKTS: CURLF), Cresco Labs (OTCMKTS: CRLBF) and Acreage Holdings (OTCMKTS: ACRGF). They’re big players. They scare everybody. They may have gone through the process 22 other times in other states. The state of Missouri worked hard to make sure local businesses could get a good number of the licenses.

FYI

Sherry Doctorian is BeLeaf’s lobbyist in Jefferson City.

 

Opioid Suit in OK

NYTimes reports that a “judge in Oklahoma on Monday ruled that Johnson & Johnson had intentionally played down the dangers and oversold the benefits of opioids, and ordered it to pay the state $572 million in the first trial of a drug manufacturer for the destruction wrought by prescription painkillers. The amount fell far short of the $17 billion judgment that Oklahoma had sought to pay for addiction treatment, drug courts and other services it said it would need over the next 20 years to repair the damage done by the opioid epidemic.

Still, the decision, by Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County District Court, heartened lawyers representing states and cities — plaintiffs in many of the more than 2,000 opioid lawsuits pending across the country — who are pursuing a legal strategy similar to Oklahoma’s…”

What It Means

Missouri is among states involved in litigation with opioid manufacturers.  One veteran reads this as a validation that these corporations will be making huge settlements.  “Ultimately these kind of suits can help the Missouri budget.”

 

Bits

·         Governing Magazine has an article about municipalities that are “addicted to fines.”  See it here.  Missouri gets cameo.  

·         Post Dispatch reports that the US Navy has revised its policy on reviewing misconduct, seemingly after Eric Greitens’ return to service raised questions.

·         KC Chamber tweets about AG Eric Schmitt’s recent SCOTUS filing, saying it “believes it’s vital that we protect rights of all people 2 do business and work in our state.”

 

$5K+ Contributions

Viceroy PAC - $20,000 from Golden Entertainment.

Viceroy PAC - $10,000 from Golden Entertainment.

 

New Committees

Timothy Faber formed a candidate committee (Faber For House 58) to run for House 58 as a Republican.  The current incumbent, Rep. David Wood, is termed.

Michael Person formed a candidate committee (Citizens To Elect Mike Person) to run for House 74 as a Democrat in the upcoming special election.

Growth And Opportunity PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is Richard C Peerson.

Southwest Missouri Patriot PAC was formed.  Its treasurer is Laurie Behm.

 

Lobbyist Registrations

Thomas Robbins and Steven Tilley deleted The Meyer Companies.

Kristin Sobolik added University of Missouri – St. Louis.

 

Birthdays

Happy birthdays to Kit Crancer, Scott Swain, and Tom Flanigan.