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Coronavirus Surges In Missouri | Black-Owned Cannabis Brand

A sign advertises vaccine availability outside a grocery store in Hays.
David Condos
Kansas News Service
Vaccination rates have slowed as the Delta variant becomes the prominent variant throughout the U.S.

Fears mount as COVID-19 numbers continue to climb across Missouri, and a local cannabis company is the first Black-owned brand to be sold at a dispensary in the state.

Segment 1, beginning at 1:00: A recent mask recommendation by the Kansas City Health Department signals that the pandemic is far from over.

The more contagious Delta variant spread rapidly through unvaccinated communities in southwestern Missouri. Case counts in the state have doubled in the last two weeks, and hospitalizations have reached numbers that haven't been seen since January.

As the infection rate in Kansas City climbs, doctors and health care providers warn that another surge may come with the start of the school year. "We're telling parents that their kids don't have to wear masks," Dr. Rex Archer says. "That's a recipe for disaster."

  • Dr. Branden Comfort, assistant professor and family care physician, University of Kansas Health System
  • Dr. Rex Archer, director, Kansas City Health Department

Segment 2, beginning at 31:53: After Missouri legalized medical marijuana in 2018, the industry has remained majority white, but one cannabis brand is changing that.

Many dispensaries in Missouri will soon carry the first Black-owned cannabis brand in the state. Franklin's Stash House, started by Michael Wilson and Ronald Rice, is confronting the issue of diversity in the marijuana industry.

"It's a conversation that's being put in front of us that needs to be addressed," Michael Wilson says.

Steve Kraske is the host of KCUR's Up To Date. Follow him on Twitter @stevekraske.
Trevor Grandin is an intern for KCUR's Up To Date.
Reginald David is an assistant producer with Up To Date.