Category Archives: Economics

MO Gets Rush of Weed Applications

By Free Radical

Missouri has been flooded by potential new companies to take part in the marijuana industry.

Missouri has been flooded by companies eager to take part in the marijuana industry.

Following the passage of Amendment 2 in November, Missouri will begin accepting licenses for marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, and dispensing in August. Nonetheless, the state has already received a tidal wave of applications from companies eager to take part in the industry.

According to local sources, more than 400 applications have been submitted. Altogether, more than $3 million have been paid in application fees.

Amendment 2 allowed the state to select at minimum 24 dispensary licenses for each of Missouri’s eight Congressional districts.

However, there are far more applications than there are available slots. Missouri’s first Congressional District, which encompasses St. Louis City and County already has 36 applications. The state’s 5th Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, has 58.

Missouri charges a nonrefundable fee of $6,000 for manufacturing and dispensing licenses. Cultivation licenses cost $10,000.

In all, 61 cultivation licenses, 87 manufacturing licenses, and 192 dispensing licenses will be issued.

As many early marijuana advocates predicted, the application revenue would be enough to jumpstart the program which had no funding resolution attached to Amendment 2. The money will be used to pay for staff and other administrative costs.

Nonetheless, despite the large numbers of applications, the total amount will likely continue to grow as August draws near. However, health officials claim that early application submissions will not receive preferential consideration.

Some observers believe that wealth rather than timing will be the primary determinant for success in Missouri’s marijuana industry. According to columbiamissourian.com, “Small business owners in Missouri who hope to acquire a license and start growing/dispensing medical marijuana will most likely be in fierce competition with people who are well-funded and who have backing from individuals with experience opening dispensaries and starting grow operations in other states.”

Suburbs No Refuge for Black Students

By Free Radical

New data show that students of color are subject to discrimination in suburban school districts.

New data show that students of color are subject to discrimination in suburban school districts.

Following World War II, the number of Blacks living in suburban areas skyrocketed. Here they often sought what they hoped would be safer neighborhoods and better opportunities for their children.

However a new study by the federal Civil Rights Data Collection suggests that the suburbs is more of a broken promise than a promised land. Reporting on new data, the USA Today outlined how students of color are more likely to be suspended and less likely to take fewer AP classes than their White classmates. In some suburban districts, Black students are even several grades behind White students.

Student Kennedy Jackson of the Rochester metropolitan area was featured. Jackson was regularly the target of racial epithets. Unfortunately, Jackson was not an anomaly. Bethany Beru had a similarly harrowing story. In the middle of a lesson, her teacher hurled a racial epithet at her. When Beru contacted administrators, nothing was done.

Corrective measures had been proposed by former president Barack Obama’s administration. According to guidelines, school districts could be penalized if they disproportionately target students of color for severe punishments. However, the Trump administration and its education head, Betsy Devos have indicated that they will move to rescind these protections.

For more on the experiences of students of color in the suburbs, click here.

STL Among Naton’s Worst for Child Poverty

By Free Radical

St. Louis has the 12th worst rate of child poverty in the nation.

St. Louis has the 12th worst rate of child poverty in the nation according to newly released census data.

St. Louis has the dubious distinction of having one of the highest rates of child poverty in the nation according to census records. Approximately 40 percent of St. Louis children are impoverished.

This rate places St. Louis as twelfth in the nation. A list of all cities including 200,000 or more residents were assessed. Fremont, California has the lowest rate at 3.9 percent and Detroit has the highest with 54.5 percent.

Though the census study included all children, it is likely that Black children are disproportionately plagued by impoverishment. A recently published equity indicator study by  the City of St. Louis showed stark racial differences throughout the city.

Several areas such as educational attainment, criminal justice, and health indicators were examined. A score of 1 means that an indicator is grossly inequitable and there is a great chasm between Blacks and Whites. A score of 100 means that the indicator is racially equitable.

The city received a score of 29 for the child poverty indicator. The city also received a low score of 17 for children who suffer with food insecurity.

NFL Viewers Return for 2018 Season

Robert Quinn continued anthem protests in 2018 but recognized a lack of media attention to them.

Robert Quinn continued anthem protests in 2018 but recognized a lack of media attention to them.

By Free Radical

NFL viewership increased by 5 percent for the 2018 football season, according to league sources. The NFL had experienced a crisis of confidence the previous year as controversy over player protests resulted in a decline of viewers.

While the average NFL game attracted 15.8 million viewers in 2018, only 14.7 people watched NFL games in 2017. That was a steep drop from the 2016 figure of 16.5 million and the 2015 average of 17.9 million.

One cause for the increased viewership may have been the league and various media outlets’ decision to not focus on league protests as they had done last year.

Before this season, the NFL ruled in May that players would have to stand during the national anthem on the field or remain off of the field until it was over. However, this mandate was suspended as a result of the players’ union complaint that it violated their rights.

This boded well for the league whose many owners constantly expressed their preference to focus on football rather than social justice.

There had been flareups such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones statement that he would defy league policy by requiring his players to stand during the anthem. Also in November, San Francisco 49ers cheerleader Kayla Morris made headlines when she knelt during the anthem.

There have also been several players who have refused to stand during the anthem, either by kneeling, raising their fists, sitting, or remaining in the locker room while it has been played.

Nonetheless, these acts of resistance have received much less media attention than in recent years. Robert Quinn, who once played for the St. Louis Rams but now is on the Miami Dolphins roster, expressed his frustration with the virtual media blackout of player protests. Late last month, he told the Miami Herald, “Y’all ignore it. Because when I gave my first message on trying to bring unity, y’all swept it under the rug. It’s not me. When you don’t give a problematic story, y’all just ran away.”

Quinn may have a point. In 2017, ESPN, the nation’s leading sports network, kept a running tally of all players who protested during the anthem. This year, that list has disappeared. Even in reporting on the league’s increased viewership in 2018, ESPN writer Kevin Seifert curiously made no mention of player protests.

It should be noted that ESPN was in great fear of losing money in 2017 as fewer viewers watched its flagship show Monday Night Football, a show the network pays $1.9 billion annually to broadcast.