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Can Missouri help create a more equitable weed industry?

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FILE - In this Aug. 21, 2019 file photo, an industrial hemp plant is shown in Clayton Township, Mich. With industrial hemp promoted as a new cash crop for struggling farmers, Louisiana's agriculture department is fast-tracking the regulations for the newly legal commodity, with the first grower licenses expected to win approval in February 2020. Interested farmers are packing orientation sessions to learn about the lengthy paperwork, licensing, testing and reporting requirements the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry is enacting to govern industrial hemp production in Louisiana, under a program overwhelmingly backed by lawmakers earlier this year. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
Paul Sancya
The application period for the microbusiness license program opens this Thursday, July 27, and runs through Aug. 10.

The state's microbusiness license program is supposed to give Missourians from disadvantaged communities a chance to enter the recreational marijuana industry.

Missouri's microbusiness license program was created to make the recreational marijuana industry more inclusive, Adolphus Pruitt, president of the St. Louis City NAACP, told KCUR.

"If you’ve been impacted by... the war against drugs, you’re eligible [for this program]," he said. "If you live in a census tract where 30% or more of the population is below the poverty [line], you’re eligible."

But Rep. Ashley Bland Manlove, a Kansas City Democrat and criticof Amendment 3, which legalized recreational marijuana in November, told KCUR she's concerned about how the program has been rolled out.

"The devil is always in the details," she said.

Missourians who meet the program's eligibility requirements can apply for a microbusiness license here.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
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