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Selection process for Missouri marijuana licenses needs racial equity boost, advocates say

As she applies for a state license to make marijuana-infused products for medicinal use, Keyonna Gray is thinking of people in her north St. Louis County neighborhood who were incarcerated for nonviolent marijuana offenses or battled addiction to opioids or other drugs.

“I look at it as a way of creating jobs,” said Gray, a first-time entrepreneur. “And creating safer access to steer people away from other, more dangerous drugs.”

Gray is one of hundreds of marijuana business hopefuls applying Aug. 3 with the state to enter the medical marijuana industry, which is expected to top $100 million in sales by 2025. Missouri officials will license the minimum number of dispensaries this year, meaning many applicants will lose out. Applicants are required to have hundreds of thousands in cash and plans that address details from controlling odor from marijuana facilities to keeping the drug from entering the illegal market.

In making its selections, the state plans to use a blind scoring process that strips applicants’ identifying information, including race. [Read more at St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

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