Abby Vivas on marijuana microbusinesses: Education, Outreach, and Support

Abby Vivas on marijuana microbusinesses: Education, Outreach, and Support


Greenway recently sat down to discuss the future of marijuana microbusiness licenses in Missouri with the state’s Chief Equity Officer, Abby Vivas.

In the conversation, Vivas shed light on the strides and challenges of balancing efforts to support licensees by inspiring and educating more potential licensees to apply.

Vivas, whose office has been at the forefront of these efforts, emphasized the importance of community engagement and outreach. “Our main focus is on potential applicants, especially as we get closer to that application window next month. Making sure that people have information about the process and the application period,” she stated, highlighting the department’s commitment to spreading awareness and knowledge about the application process for microbusiness licenses and discussing the ongoing outreach efforts and educational forums across the state.

But Vivas also indicated that help from community and industry partners is vital in raising education. She mentioned the development of new application tools and resources to aid applicants, indicating a proactive approach to addressing feedback from previous licensing rounds. “We did a survey that went out to all the applicants after the application window closed. It asked questions about what resources they use – the website, do they attend outreach events, and what did they think about the application? And we went through that survey and pulled out things that were actionable,” Vivas explained that the survey led to changes in the application process as well as the creation of additional resources including tutorials. Beyond the survey, the interactions at forums have produced the backbone and foundation for many of the questions found in the online FAQs, she said. “That helps direct some of the resources we’re trying to add to the website.”

Those resources include application tutorial videos, tutorials about eligibility criteria, including locating congressional districts, a new tool designed to help individuals find their census tract, and resources about confirming unemployment or poverty information based on zip codes. Additionally, Vivas and the DCR team will be updating guidance and have created multiple resources to ensure that interested licensees, applicants, and potential applicants can stay informed – including new email newsletters concerning updates and events.


Looking ahead, Vivas discussed the ongoing initiatives and future plans to support both licensees and applicants. “We’re really just trying to look forward to see what support we can provide for licensees and potential applicants about operating these small businesses, about training,” Vivas stated, signaling her office’s approach to nurturing the growth and sustainability of microbusinesses in the cannabis sector.

While a formal announcement hasn’t been made, Vivas indicated that there will be an in-person meeting for microbusiness licensees in the future, covering many of the points about licensing, compliance, and interactions with regulators that medical marijuana licensees were informed of during a mandatory meeting for licensees in march of 2020, shortly after licenses were awarded.

Vivas also candidly addressed the complexities of the licensing process, including the considerations for future licensing rounds and the potential for existing microbusinesses to convert to comprehensive licenses.

She discussed revisions to qualifying criteria, including revised zipcode information and updated data sets and how those changes may impact some applicants. This openness about the intricacies of policy and regulation provides a transparent view into the state’s deliberative process in fostering an equitable cannabis industry.

As Missouri looks forward to another round of microbusiness licensing, Vivas’ insights provide valuable context on the state’s commitment to equity and transparency. The ongoing dialogue between the state and stakeholders, as well as the iterative improvements to the licensing process, reflect a concerted effort to ensure that Missouri’s cannabis industry is inclusive and accessible to all aspiring entrepreneurs.