The launch of marijuana microbusiness licenses has not been without a few bumps in the road. But Abby Vivas, Chief Equity Officer with the Missouri Division of Cannabis Regulation’s Office of Business Opportunity, and Lacie Lloyd have worked diligently to ensure that at each juncture the process improves.

Following the revocation of nine marijuana microbusiness licenses that had been issued in the first round of applications, and ahead of the launch of the second round of microbusiness applications, Vivas spoke with Greenway about the progress that her Office has made, and what the staff strives for moving forward.

“Right now we are finalizing changes to the website, making sure that everything is done before our next application window opens,” Vivas said. With the application window set to open on April 15, Vivas emphasized the division’s preparation, but not without an element of excitement and wonder for the next phase as well.

“I think we’re really well prepared with our internal processes. But I am anxious to see what this looks like. Do we get way more applications? Do we get less? Do people shift their congressional district based on the results of round 1? So I’m really anxious to see what all that looks like.”

Since the first round of applications opened in August of last year, a handful of criteria have changed and Vivas and her office have worked to address questions and concerns they’ve seen in feedback since the initial application phase.

“We did post those ZIP code lists on the website with some verbiage that explains why they’ve changed,” she explained. “We have added a few things, including updated FAQs, updated eligibility information, more application resources, and application tutorials,” Vivas continued. “We also have some things that are in development, like our Business Resources.”

For Vivas, the focus has always been to institute a cannabis licensing process with a focus on equity and accessibility, while navigating the complexities of regulation and administration. Vivas highlighted the recent review and confirmed that the nine licenses that were revoked will be incorporated into future application rounds, underscoring the fluidity and responsiveness of the licensing process to ensure fairness and opportunity.

While she and her team would like to see the licenses roll into the upcoming application period, logistically it is nearly impossible given an appeal period for licensees who are suspended or revoked.

“The plan is to add the licenses [into the pool] as soon as possible, but the process of revoking a license and the appeals process takes a certain amount of time.”

While the bulk of her attention to this point has been set on reaching potential applicants, her office now has to balance the implementation of awarded licenses with the continuing mission of outreach and education for potential applicants.

By developing resources for marijuana microbusinesses, covering aspects such as banking, finance, and real estate, Vivas and the team at OBO aim to support licensed businesses in navigating the industry’s complexities, fostering a supportive and interconnected community.

Vivas noted that in preparing for the second round of applications, the importance of internal efficiencies and cross-collaboration were paramount. The team has been proactive in its approach to communication, with substantial updates to the website, hosting a slew of outreach events – including a webinar tonight, and by connecting with over a thousand subscribers to their email list, OBO is committed to providing applicants with the tools and information needed for success.

As the application period nears, Vivas encourages prospective applicants to thoroughly review the available resources and eligibility requirements. 

Under the guidance of Vivas, is making significant strides in refining the cannabis licensing process. With a focus on equity, efficiency, and community support, the Division is poised to facilitate a more accessible and sustainable industry landscape in Missouri.

The application window for the second round of marijuana microbusiness licenses opens April 15.  You can review the Microbusiness Information section of the DHSS website for more information and to find additional resources or check eligibility.

 

Revoked Marijuana Microbusiness Licenses

MBW000020 Higher Love KC LLC
MBD000001 Frankenstein Enemy LLC
MBD000002 Potluck THC LLC
MBD000005 The Joke Smoke SE LLC
MBD000006 The Herbal Home LLC
MBD000010 HIGH AROMA LLC
MBD000012 Seashore Rhythm, LLC
MBD000013 Ever Eco LLC
MBD000014 Cannarooted LLC

 

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