KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A Missouri woman is working to make medical marijuana licenses more accessible for all people.
Missouri voters legalized medical marijuana back in 2018. Since then, the state has issued hundreds of licenses to operate grow-houses, testing and manufacturing facilities, as well as dispensaries.
Running one of these businesses requires knowledge of the field, the regulations and a lot of cash on hand.
Marne Madison is the president of the Missouri chapter of Minorities for Medical Marijuana. Through her business, Fleur Verte Home Health Services, she offers classes to help break down the rules and costs of operating a home grow as a caregiver and a patient.
“We created a platform and infrastructure to educate and cultivate patients into becoming home cultivators, growers and caregivers throughout the industry,” Madison said.
Madison hopes to target minorities who may be hesitant or confused about how to get into the industry.
“With us being some of the first to obviously be put in prison for drug trafficking as far as cannabis, it is important to restore the trust inside the Black community and show us how to successfully make money inside of cannabis,” Madison said.
The American Civil Liberties Union says Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates, but Blacks are more than three times as likely to be arrested for possession. Natasha Scruggs, criminal defense attorney at Scruggs Law Firm, said the laws can be confusing with so many gray areas.
“It could be considered confusing with so many different layers because we’re dealing with federal law that still criminalizes marijuana, and then we’re dealing with state law that is saying that medical marijuana in certain aspects is legalized,” Scruggs said.
The Missouri health department told FOX4 it does not track the demographics of the people who have licenses to grow medical marijuana. Scruggs believes the state should keep that data to promote racial equity.
“If they are not tracking the people who are getting the licenses, then racial disparities will go unnoticed,” Scruggs said.
With a four-hour $100 course, Madison hopes to help level the playing field.
“It is important to have an outlet so we know these home cultivators have walked through the steps,” Madison said. “So they are legally in compliance and they are confident and growing medicine for patients.”
The classes will start next month. You can learn more on the Fleur Verte website.