John Payne • Executive Director and Treasurer
John Payne received his B.A. in history from Washington University in Saint Louis in 2005. John spent the next four years teaching high school in both rural Missouri and St. Louis, before leaving to pursue a career combining his passions for public policy and writing. Mr. Payne worked as a research assistant at the Show-Me Institute in Saint Louis, MO, from 2010 through the summer of 2011. He joined Show-Me Cannabis Regulation’s board of directors in November 2011 and served as the Eastern Missouri Campaign Manager during the 2012 campaign. In addition to his duties at Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, John serves on the Board of Directors of Alumni for Liberty. His writing has appeared in the Journal of Libertarian Studies, Young American Revolution, The American Conservative, and Reason, as well as newspapers across the state of Missouri.
John’s office hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Outside of these hours, please communicate via email rather than calling or texting.
Leah Maurer • Board Member
Leah Maurer serves as the Treasurer of the National Cannabis Coalition and its parent division, the American Victory Coalition. Although she was born and raised in Missouri, Leah currently lives in Portland, Oregon. Leah graduated from the University of Missouri, Columbia with a BS in Education. She then taught elementary school for four years in the public school system. Leah became an activist in the movement after experiencing a S.W.A.T. raid in her home in March of 2009 in Columbia, Missouri. Leah is a happily married mother of three, who wants nothing more than to see the prohibition of cannabis ended and civil liberties upheld.
Dan Viets • Chairman
Dan Viets is a criminal defense lawyer on the Board of Directors for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and has served as the Missouri State Coordinator for NORML for many years. He is a former president of the Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and has served as chairman for the Mid-Missouri ACLU, an organization in which he has been very active over the years. Dan has received numerous awards and recognition for his work as a civil libertarian and humanitarian, and hosts a weekly radio program on KOPN in Columbia.
Amber Langston • Board Member
Amber Langston is a Missouri native and outspoken advocate for social, economic and environmental justice. Ms. Langston served as the campaign manager for Columbia, Missouri’s two successful municipal cannabis initiatives in 2004 while studying rural sociology at the University of Missouri. Amber has served as an outreach director and international liaison for Students for Sensible Drug Policy in Washington, DC, as field support for Americans for Safe Access in Oakland, CA, and as media liaison for California’s Proposition 19 to tax and regulate cannabis in November 2010. Amber returned to Missouri in 2011 to lead Show-Me Cannabis Regulation, the state-wide effort to legalize marijuana in the Show-Me State. After failing to qualify that petition for the November 2012 ballot, Ms. Langston initiated her work with Women Against Prohibition, an organization dedicated to promoting women in politics and ending marijuana prohibition, where she currently serves as Executive Director.
Maranda Reynolds • Secretary
Maranda Reynolds is a newcomer to the movement. She begin her activism in November of 2011 when she was elected as secretary of Springfield NORML. Mrs. Reynolds is currently president of Springfield Cannabis Regulation, a group that aims to decriminalize possession of small amounts of cannabis in Springfield.
Anthony Johnson • Board Member
Anthony Johnson is the executive director of the National Cannabis Coalition and its parent division, the American Victory Coalition. Born and raised in Missouri, Anthony currently resides in Portland, Oregon, and is pleased to assist activists and concerned citizens across the country working to lessen the harms caused by cannabis prohibition. As President of the University of Missouri Law School ACLU Chapter, Anthony co-authored the measures that legalized medical cannabis possession and decriminalized personal possession for all adults within the city limits of Columbia, Missouri, in 2004. After graduating from Mizzou’s law school, Anthony passed the Oregon Bar and practiced criminal defense for two years before working full time in the political field to help improve and protect civil liberties.
Abhi Sivasailam • Board Member
Abhinav (Abhi) Sivasailam serves as the Director of Research for American Victory Coalition and National Cannabis Coalition, and as the Vice-President of Keep Columbia Free. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he studied Economics and Statistics.