Missouri Minute: Marijuana advocates mull 2020 petition; KC gears up for World Cup bid

Corrected Feb. 5

Good morning, MBA readers,

Although sales of medical marijuana have not even started in Missouri, the conversation around legalizing marijuana for recreational use in the state has already begun. Two groups, the New Approach PAC and Missourians for a New Approach, are still deciding whether to gather signatures for petitions to put recreational marijuana use questions on Missouri’s November ballot. Given the timing, it would be an uphill battle — any petition would have to obtain 160,000 signatures by mid-May.

If recent results in a neighboring state are any indication, though, recreational marijuana in Missouri could generate plenty of interest — and revenue. In Illinois, recreational marijuana revenue totaled nearly $20 million during the first 12 days of legal sales. In Collinsville, Illinois, just across the river from downtown St. Louis, one dispensary attracted a line hundreds of patrons long before 7 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Earlier this week, the same facility had to stop selling for a day in order to replenish its supply.

Scroll down to learn more about the business implications of bringing recreational marijuana to Missouri and to read up on the day’s other business headlines from across the state.

Stay alert

KC leaders seek to bring 2026 World Cup to area
Kansas City officials have received a letter from U.S. Soccer stating that 2026 World Cup site selection will resume next month and conclude in early 2021. The city is competing against 17 other U.S. cities and would slightly reconfigure Arrowhead Stadium to meet FIFA regulations. (KCUR)

Coworking company to expand to Clayton this summer
Serendipity Labs, a New York-based workspace company, will open a St. Louis location this summer with plans to eventually open five more in the area. The new location would compete with at least 20 other coworking spaces in the region. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

KC-area insurance broker moving from Kansas to Missouri
The Miller Group plans to relocate its 50-plus-employee headquarters this spring from Overland Park, Kansas, to Kansas City, Missouri. It is not yet clear whether the company received incentives from the state for the relocation. (Kansas City Business Journal)

MSU unveils $250,000 contract for new football coach
Missouri State University has entered into a five-year contract with new head football coach Bobby Petrino. The deal with Petrino, whose past stops include the University of Arkansas and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, includes a base annual salary of $250,000 plus up to $92,500 in bonuses. (Springfield Business Journal)

Investment manager closes on $6.6 million financing for Hotel Saint Louis
The Rockwood Group, a renewable energy investor based in the St. Louis area, has closed on a $6.6 million deal involving financing for the Hotel Saint Louis. Rockwood’s commercial property-assessed clean energy notes helped finance the hotel’s $64 million renovation, which was developed and managed by Restoration St. Louis. (St. Louis Business Journal)

KC entrepreneurship center names new top executive
The Enterprise Center in Johnson County has elevated Jeff Shackelford to the role of president and CEO. Shackleford joined the nonprofit last year as senior vice president of investment capital and financial operations. Prior to that, he spent five years running Digital Sandbox KC. He succeeds George Hansen. (Startland News)

Plagiarism-detection firm opens US base in Chesterfield
Urkund, a Swedish developer of text-comparison software, plans to launch operations in North America based in Chesterfield. Under the name Ouriginal, the new unit will be led by Eric Gibbs, who worked at other education tech firms such as Turnitin, a competing plagiarism-detection product. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Developer plans business complex in Springfield
Glenngary LLC plans to build a business complex with a focus on ancillary real estate services. Dubbed Independence Marketplace, the complex will span around 10,000 square feet that can be divided into seven spaces of about 1,400 square feet apiece. The building permit lists an estimated cost of $1 million. (Springfield Business Journal)

St. Charles brewery becomes third Schlafly location
Trailhead Brewing Co. will become the third Schlafly brewpub as its owner Bob Kirkwood retires after 25 years in business. Kirkwood said he approached Schlafly a few months ago to buy his microbrewery, and that the St. Louis brewer jumped at the expansion opportunity. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Missouri AG sues KC nonprofit homebuilder for alleged scam
Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt has sued Kansas City nonprofit Vinelanders Community Land Trust and its founder, Alice Goodlow, calling it a “wide-ranging and long-standing scam.” For years, Vinelanders has collected $20 in monthly dues from participants under the understanding that it would eventually build each participant a home, but it has yet to build a single home in eight years of operation. (WDAF)

Greene County commissioner to retire after 60 years in public sector
Harold Bengsch, 84, will retire at the end of 2020 when his term on the Greene County Commission expires. He has served as an associate county commissioner since 2005, after leading the Springfield-Greene County Health Department for 20 years. (Springfield Business Journal)

Say that again

“The status quo has allowed an unsafe and unregulated black market to thrive in Missouri, while wasting law enforcement resources that would be better spent fighting serious and violent crimes.”

That’s John Payne, a campaign manager for the effort to bring legalized recreational marijuana to Missouri, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Payne said there is widespread support to regulate, tax and legalize the drug. Two groups, the New Approach PAC and Missourians for a New Approach, are still deciding whether to gather signatures for a petition to put a measure legalizing recreational marijuana on Missouri’s November ballot. At this point, it would be a difficult task, as a campaign has to gather 160,000 signatures by mid-May in order to be considered on a ballot in November. So far, secretary of state John Ashcroft has approved four recreational marijuana use questions for signature collection, although Payne said the campaign has not started collecting signatures on any specific ballot question. Missouri has legalized marijuana use for medical purposes, but has not started sales yet. Eleven states in the U.S. have legalized marijuana for recreational use, including Illinois.

Go figure

$40 million

That’s the projected 2020 revenue for St. Louis-based barbecue restaurant Sugarfire Smoke House, the St. Louis Business Journal reports. Since it opened its first location in Olivette in 2012, the fast-casual restaurant has expanded to 15 locations across five states. More locations are being built, with the 16th and 17th locations set to open this year. The restaurant’s ownership group — Charlie and Caroline Downs and chef Mike Johnson — only own three locations, but they are considering teaming with a private equity firm, among other avenues, to open more locations. The restaurant has seen rising profits despite same-store purchases not growing. Charlie Downs attributes that to improved cost controls amid a surge in the price of brisket. “Our protein costs are outrageous,” he said. “We can cut them easily and we’re not going to. So now all these other things we need to control.”

Hello, my name is

Eric Danielson

Kansas City engineering and architecture firm CRB has hired the former JE Dunn executive as its new director of business development, the Kansas City Business Journal reports. During his six years with JE Dunn, Danielson developed the company’s science and technology vertical into a $400 million business unit. He also has worked as a public address announcer for University of Kansas athletics and Sporting Kansas City. In his new role, he will be in charge of CRB’s Midwest division.

Correction: Feb. 5 at 8 a.m.

This story was updated to reflect the correct number of Sugarfire Smoke House locations. The restaurant has 15 locations currently in operation.


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