MEET EAPEN THAMPY
The team at Great State Strategies is lead by founder and President Eapen Thampy.
Since 2009, Eapen Thampy has been a visionary and leader in multiple emerging fields including marijuana reform, drug policy, criminal justice, and cryptocurrency/blockchain adoption.
In 2009, Eapen convened a diverse group of stakeholders to found the modern marijuana legalization movement in Missouri by founding advocacy group Show-Me Cannabis and then in 2014, New Approach Missouri. Over the years, Eapen has been a vigorous advocate for a freedom and justice focused approach to marijuana policy, working on clemency & expungement campaigns with Mission Green of the 501c3 Weldon Project to secure multiple Presidential pardons for marijuana offenders. Eapen has been a vigorous advocate for a free market/equal opportunity to the marijuana industry and has opposed ballot initiative campaigns run by special interests with the goal of controlling licensure. In 2017-2018 Eapen worked with MO St. Rep. Dr. Jim Neely on free market medical marijuana legislation which passed the Missouri House of Representatives on a 112-44 vote. In 2019 Eapen worked with MO St. Representative Ron Hicks to propose legislation for expunging marijuana offenses. As an advocate, Eapen has developed an unique skillset with respect to conservative and law enforcement advocacy on marijuana and other drug policy issues.
In 2014, Eapen worked with Missouri State Representative Paul Curtman to get agricultural hemp legislation filed. Ultimately this legislation was passed in 2018 and Missouri's first legal hemp harvest in two generations happened in October 2019.
In 2017, Eapen worked to convene stakeholders on psychedelic medicine access and ultimately worked with MO St. Rep. Michael Davis to file legislation for this issue in 2020.
Prior to his work in politics, Eapen won the Missouri State National Geographic Bee in 1997 and 1998. He attended the University of Missouri-Columbia, studying economics and math and was president of the Mizzou NDTCEDA Debate Team in 2005 and 2006.
After college, Eapen and his colleague Scott Meiner founded Americans for Forfeiture Reform, a nonprofit advocacy and litigation support nonprofit advocating for the abolition of civil asset forfeiture. In 2015, an AFR amicus brief was cited by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in oral argument in Luis v. United States.
Eapen has also had professional experience in the restaurant and wine industries and volunteers his time to support student groups in the University of Missouri system advocating for free speech and civil liberty issues.
MEET RON HICKS
Ron Hicks served in the Missouri House of Representatives from 2013-2016 and again from 2019-2023, representing districts in St. Charles.
In his career as a legislator, Ron served as the Chairman of the Special Committee on Homeland Security and the Joint Committee on Capitol Security. Ron handled numerous pieces of legislation relating to criminal justice, law enforcement, first responders, foster children, firearm policy, marijuana reform, and labor unions.