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Cynthia Reeves | SBJ

2022 Men of the Year: Lyndall Fraker

Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services

Posted online

After serving eight years as a state representative, term limits forced Lyndall Fraker in 2018 to look for a new professional challenge. The opportunity arose that same year in an unlikely place when Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana. 

“I took on the enormous task of leading our team of 52 professionals in setting up the new medical marijuana industry in Missouri,” he says of his role as state director of the medical marijuana section within the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. “We successfully implemented the program, meeting every constitutional deadline as dictated in Amendment 2.”

With a limited number of licenses available for those seeking to do business in the new industry, fewer than 400 out of 2,100 applicants were approved. Hundreds of appeals stacked up against the state, as those denied licenses criticized the DHSS for perceived scoring inconsistencies. Fraker has defended the licensing process since the beginning but says the program has had challenges, particularly trying to ramp up amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Still, industry sales have topped $426 million since October 2020.

“I’ve always been a student of hard work and determination,” he says. “The example of staying the course and seeing a job through to the end is very important and rewarding, even when the critics said it couldn’t be done. Our associates are now seeing the fruits of their labor as we have nearly 100% of the licensed facilities approved to operate in our state.”

Prior to his work in state government, Fraker was elected to the Webster County Commission. His first term was cut short after a successful bid in 2010 for state representative. A self-employed building contractor and real estate developer since 2004, Fraker previously worked in retail as a Walmart manager for 17 years. 

Rep. John Black, R-Marshfield, has known Fraker for nearly 30 years and over that period says he’s witnessed his friend take on his roles in retail and politics in a thoughtful and responsible manner. 

“It is not surprising to me Lyndall has simply and quietly just gone on to produce perhaps the most professional and efficient medical marijuana program rollout in the country,” Black says.

While opportunities to leave Marshfield have arisen over the years, Fraker says he long ago committed to establishing himself in the community. The city has taken notice, with Fraker receiving local honors, including Marshfieldian of the Year in 2002, and the Pinnacle Award for Community Service from the Marshfield Area Community Foundation in 2018. 

Fraker, who serves on the board of the Marshfield Public Schools Foundation and is founder and chair of the annual high school alumni event Reunion Fest, says he feels a responsibility to serve in Marshfield.

“Somebody has to carry that on,” he says. “My family has been there six generations now on my mom’s side, five generations on my dad’s side. We have an obligation to keep those traditions and family values important to us.”

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