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.

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 […]

Missouri lawmakers take aim at unregulated ‘delta-8 THC’ hemp products

By: - April 14, 2023

As he was checking out at a convenience store one day, state Rep. Kurtis Gregory said he looked down and saw “delta-8 THC” products being sold. He had no idea THC, the intoxicating component mostly associated with marijuana, could be sold openly outside of dispensaries.  “I messaged a few folks and to my surprise, yep, […]

Banks remain wary of marijuana industry, even after Missouri legalization vote

By: - April 11, 2023

Jason Nelson just wants to get as close to “fairly normalized business banking” as possible. But as the owner of Swade dispensaries and Sinse Cannabis cultivation, that’s much harder than it sounds. He’s a customer at Triad Bank in St. Louis, one of the few banks in Missouri willing to work with cannabis businesses.  His […]

Missouri sees surge in cannabis jobs after legalization vote

By: - April 3, 2023

Marcus Kerr was running his own food truck in California in 2018, when he parked by a marijuana dispensary one day. “I just ended up meeting the owner of this company, and they had my food,” he said. “They said, ‘Hey, can you infuse this?’ Then I started working for the big guys.” Kerr began […]

Missouri House backs bill requiring state research on psychedelics to treat depression, PTSD

By: - March 29, 2023

The suicide rate among veterans in Missouri is nearly double the state rate and one of the highest in the country. In hopes of helping veterans and other Missourians facing mental health issues, the Missouri House advanced a bill Wednesday that would require the state to conduct a study on using psilocybin, also known as […]

Diversity initiatives within Missouri agencies run into GOP attack on ‘woke’ government

By: , and - March 27, 2023

High employee turnover has plagued Missouri’s Department of Social Services for years. The department’s staffing woes have contributed to a range of problems — from foster children languishing in state care for longer than they should be to disabled residents waiting months to receive federal food benefits to investigators unable to keep up with child […]

Missouri banks ask lawmakers to approve sharing of marijuana business inspections

By: - March 22, 2023

Missouri’s marijuana businesses have extra obstacles when it comes to getting help from financial institutions.  With recreational marijuana now legal in Missouri but still illegal at the federal level, it creates more hoops to jump through for both banks and businesses to meet federal scrutiny. Missouri lawmakers have an opportunity to streamline that process by […]