A Missouri Official Is Pushing To Survey Cannabis Businesses


A Missouri state official has promised to fight for the creation of a demographic survey of cannabis business owners after Black residents in the state say they’ve been left out of the industry.

Marijuana Moment reports Abigail Vivas, the chief equity officer at Missouri’s Department of Health and Senior Services, said she would push for a survey in which cannabis license holders volunteer their demographic information.

“Considering the spirit of the constitution…I think that data is important,” Vivas said.

Vivas, who was selected for the new position in February 2023, has captained four events across Missouri to educate residents on the micro-business cannabis program, which is aimed at providing access to the billion-dollar industry to people and communities who have been impacted the most by the war on drugs and marijuana criminalization.

The state plans to award 48 micro-business licenses. Those interested in applying for a license can apply for one through August 10, 2023. The program was created for the same reason advocates are fighting for the survey: They believe the state’s Black residents, who were disproportionately arrested and incarcerated for selling cannabis, are now being left out of the cannabis market.

In order for micro-businesses to get a foothold in Missouri’s cannabis market, the number of regular licenses will be frozen by law until June 8, 2024.

Cannabis will soon be recreationally legal in 24 states, with Virginia and Minnesota set to become legal by 2025. Cannabis is legal medically in 38 states as well as the District of Columbia.

Missouri isn’t the only place where Black cannabis business owners are struggling to grab a piece of the market. According to Leafly’s Jobs Report 2021, Black people accounted for less than 2% of business owners in the industry. According to Fortune, Colorado and Nevada are the only states where Black people account for at least 5% of the cannabis market, though in both states it’s no more than 5.6%.

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