Missouri hasn’t even begun to review applications from businesses looking to participate in its new medical marijuana program. But the state health department has already announced that it will not implement any measures or programs to boost minority-owned medical cannabis businesses.
Two Democratic state lawmakers have each introduced bills that would compel the health department to give minority and women applicants a leg up. But neither bill has seen any progress in the Republican-controlled legislature. Without any equity measures in place, there are concerns that larger national and international cannabis companies will squeeze out smaller, locally-owned businesses, making those with limited access to capital incapable of entering the medical market.
Missouri Health Department Will Not Work to Ensure Equity in Its Medical Cannabis Industry
For decades, drug war-fueled mass incarceration has devastated poor and minority communities across the country. So, too, has redlining and other forms of economic discrimination that make it very difficult for vulnerable groups to obtain loans for housing and small businesses. The United States already has one of the largest wealth disparities in the world. And when broken down across racial categories, it’s obvious: wealth disparity has a color.
These are facts virtually no one disputes.