US: With legalization looming, Missourians of color worry about losing out in medical cannabis industry

More than 2,000 applications were submitted for medical cannabis licenses in 2019, but fewer than 400 were ultimately awarded. And while the state doesn’t track the race of those who got a license, people in the burgeoning industry say few went to Black-owned businesses.

Abe Givins sank into a leather armchair at the Cola Private Lounge in St. Louis on Saturday afternoon, where his company hosted a panel of doctors speaking about medical cannabis.

Givins is co-owner of Village, which advertises itself as the only vertically-integrated medical cannabis company in Missouri that’s 100% minority-owned — meaning they have licenses to grow, manufacture and sell cannabis products.

A key part of the company’s mission, Givins said, is fighting for social equity in the cannabis industry, particularly in light of how the war on drugs has ravaged minority communities.

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