This Black Woman Will Open Missouri’s First Black-Owned Cannabis Dispensary
On Election Day 2018, Missourians voted for medical marijuana use, and the decision was officially enshrined in the state’s constitution.
For Adrienne Scales-Williams, an advocate for alternative medicines, this was an opportunity to represent Black people in the cannabis industry. Her new company — Luxury Leaf Dispensary— contributes to meeting this demand.
According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, there are 192 reported dispensaries in the state, and none are Black-owned. These statistics will undoubtedly change with the upcoming soft opening of Scales-Williams’ independent, locally owned retail cannabis boutique on Jan. 21. As described on its website, Luxury Leaf is a must-see. It is located in the eclectic neighborhood of The Grove in St. Louis, featuring a “high-end, comfortable atmosphere.”
“I am an advocate for alternative medicines and want to be a part of a culture that promotes plants in healing. I want to invest in something so innovative and great for patients,” Scales-Williams told The St. Louis American. “I want patients to feel healing when they enter the dispensary space,” she added.
Throughout her venture, Scales-Williams wanted to be part of the solution in response to the many horror stories she learned about related to pain medication’s side effects and addiction. She knew branching out to the cannabis industry would avoid these experiences altogether.
In an interview with Travel Noire, Scales-Williams explained that “Medical cannabis has been proven to be a safe and effective option for pain management. Cannabis has marginalized so many Black people and still continues to produce barriers within the legal system as well as the industry. We hope to inspire others in the industry, being the first Black-owned dispensary to open in the state of Missouri.”
As the owner of Document Imaging Systems of St Louis, Inc., (DIS), a minority-owned business, Scales-Williams is a veteran of entrepreneurship. She is now entering the cannabis field to prove that a Black-owned dispensary can be a reliable source for cannabis that can be safely purchased and consumed.
“Many Black people that consume cannabis may purchase from illegal operations, further exposing us to an illicit market and illegality,” she explained to the travel publication. Having a place that is For Us, By Us, can ensure that quality is being preserved as well as education is being provided on the plant, how to consume holistically and how to maintain legality.”
Understanding the Black experience in cannabis is imperative. Scales-Williams, dedicated to keeping education at the forefront of the industry, intends to offer virtual classes and motivate engagement within the St. Louis community.
“This industry has profited off of Black and brown people, and it is imperative that Black cannabis businesses are representative. Due to the longstanding illegality of cannabis, stigma remains a struggle. Educating Black people that cannabis is a safe, effective, and legal form of medicating. The constant education will help to overcome this challenge.”
Scales-Williams obtained her license for Luxury Leaf after an expensive and lengthy process. She also had to pass a state commencement for her location.