Missouri man called the "mastermind" of legal pot after helping - KPTV - FOX 12

Missouri man called the "mastermind" of legal pot after helping push recreational use law

Posted: Updated: Jul 11, 2015 02:07 AM

Travis Maurer is a man from Missouri some call the "legal pot mastermind" after he moved 2,000 miles with his wife Leah and their two children to help make recreational marijuana legal in Oregon.

For Maurer, though, the legalization of pot hits home back in Missouri, where he smoked cannabis to ease back pain for his injuries and gave it to his mother when she was battling pancreatic cancer.

"She’d smoke, it helped her mental state, she was happier, it improved her quality of life," he said.

So Maurer started growing marijuana plants for her in his basement, but couldn't hide it from police for too long.

In February 2009, officers knocked on his door and gave Maurer a day he'll never forget.

"They put me in handcuffs, put Leah down on the floor in the hallway with a shotgun," he described.

Maurer believes officials were tipped off when police showed up in full force. He said he'll never forget seeing his wife with a gun pointed to her head.

"I was yelling please don't shoot my wife, my dogs, we're nice," he said.

After his arrest, Maurer decided his family would move to Oregon where he wanted to legalize pot once and for all.

"Somebody in the industry needed to step up to play a role in leading the change to end cannabis prohibitions."

He reached out to professionals around town to develop, lobby and help run a successful campaign. They ended up making a presentation for the biggest national funders, and by 2013 the measure to legalize pot was on the ballot. Measure 91 was passed in Oregon with over 1 million votes.

"Criminal penalties changed and today adults will no longer be criminalized for possessing cannabis," he remembered thinking that day in November.

Still Maurer said the fight is far from over, and now his battle will continue back home. 

"[We'll] take the momentum, continue making progress in Missouri, and change laws in Missouri as a better approach to treating this as a health issue," he said.

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