Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas

Rebecca Rivas is a multimedia reporter who covers Missouri's cannabis industry. A graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, she has been reporting in Missouri since 2001, including more than a decade as senior reporter and video producer at the St. Louis American, the nation’s leading African-American newspaper.

Where does the revenue from Missouri marijuana sales and license fees go?

By: - May 31, 2023

Since Missouri’s marijuana sales began in 2019, the state has collected nearly $100 million in revenue from taxes and program fees, according to state authorities.  Etched in the state’s constitution is a road map for where the revenue can go.  The first stop is operational costs. By law, any expense it takes to run both […]

New rules stir fear Black Missourians will once again lose out in marijuana licensing

By: - May 30, 2023

When a marijuana legalization amendment was being criticized last year over concerns it would calcify the lack of Black participation in the burgeoning industry, Adolphus Pruitt was one of its most vociferous defenders. Pruitt, the president of the St. Louis City NAACP, and other local NAACP leaders insisted the constitutional amendment establish a “microbusiness license” […]

Workers picket Columbia dispensary in push to unionize Missouri marijuana workers

By: and - May 17, 2023

A few days before the unofficial marijuana holiday of April 20, as retailers prepared for the biggest sales day since legalization, Austin Monroe says he was fired by Shangri La South dispensary in Columbia. Monroe is one of 16 employees of the cannabis dispensary who signed an organizing petition seeking union representation by Local 655 […]

Missouri marijuana businesses improve access to banks under bill heading to governor

By: - May 12, 2023

Missouri’s marijuana businesses would have fewer obstacles when it comes to accessing banking, under legislation approved Thursday. Few banks nationwide serve cannabis businesses and their owners — or even their auxiliary partners  — because most want nothing to do with a business that sells a product the federal government still considers illegal. That’s true even […]

Missouri legislators vote to require fingerprint background checks for cannabis employees

By: - May 11, 2023

Everyone working in Missouri’s cannabis industry would be required to submit to a fingerprint background check under legislation approved Thursday. Under the constitutional amendment that voters passed in November to legalize recreational marijuana, only the owners of cannabis companies are required to submit their fingerprints to the Missouri Highway Patrol for a criminal background check. […]

Marijuana industry, state regulators at odds over rules targeting packaging aimed at kids

By: - May 8, 2023

The labels and packaging for marijuana-related products, “shall not be made to be attractive to children,” the Missouri constitution states. That’s why state regulators are proposing requiring “plain or uniform labeling,” similar to those of cigarettes or medicines, said Amy Moore, director of Missouri’s cannabis regulation under the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services. […]

Missouri marijuana sales top $350 million during first three months of legalization

By: - May 5, 2023

Hippos Cannabis has a 40,000-square-foot production facility in Vienna, Mo., a town of 600 people that’s just 30 minutes north of Rolla. Since Missouri’s recreational marijuana sales began in February, they’ve added 25 workers, bringing the total employees to 70 — who come from Vienna or the surrounding communities. “A lot of the employees were […]

Embattled St. Louis prosecutor Kim Gardner will resign June 1

By: - May 4, 2023

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kimberly Gardner announced her resignation Thursday afternoon effective June 1, after brokering a deal to kill a bill that would allow a state takeover of the city prosecutor’s office. “An elected prosecutor is our city’s sole opportunity to have a say in its community’s criminal justice system,” Gardner said in a […]

State takeover of St. Louis police, prosecutor’s office blocked by Senate Democrats

By: - May 2, 2023

Senate Democrats blocked a vote Tuesday night on a wide-ranging bill that would put St. Louis city’s police department and part of the city’s prosecutor’s office under state control. After nine hours of a Democrat-led filibuster, Republicans set the bill aside for the night. The legislative session ends May 12 at 6 p.m. Republicans argued […]


Why some people believe ‘marijuana’ is a racist word, and why it doesn’t offend me

By: - May 2, 2023

I was talking to a cannabis business owner I’ve known for a while and respect. The man, who is white, told me he refused to use the term “marijuana” because it’s racist.  It was one of my first conversations on the cannabis beat, which I’ve been on for a month now. And my mind was […]

With recreational marijuana now legal, 4/20 looked much different in Missouri

By: - April 21, 2023

Lisa Thomas wandered into an outdoor market celebrating 4/20 on Cherokee Street in St. Louis — and ended up with her very first marijuana plant. Actually two of them.  “I’m so excited,” she said. “I’ve never had a plant.” She and her husband Jerry had been passing by a tent showcasing trimming equipment for marijuana […]

Kansas City honors cannabis-justice activist with 4/20 proclamation

By: - April 20, 2023

For Donte Westmoreland, April 20 is indeed a day to celebrate cannabis culture and the “love of the plant.” But he never stops thinking about the people who are still incarcerated nationwide for the plant, like he was. And he hopes others remember them on 4/20 as well. “I want them to realize that we’re […]