When rumblings of legalizing medical cannabis in Missouri came about in 2019, Adrienne Scales-Williams was immediately intrigued. She was excited by the idea of giving patients an alternative option in medicine. After learning so many horror stories related to pain medication’s side effects and addiction, she wanted to be a part of the solution. That’s when Scales-Williams decided to open the first Black-owned dispensary in St. Louis— Luxury Leaf Dispensary.

As described on the dispensary’s website, Luxury Leaf is St. Louis’ must-see retail cannabis boutique, featuring a high-end, comfortable atmosphere and professional attitude that invites inquiry and discovery.

“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,” Scales-Williams told Travel Noire.

For her, the aim of Luxury Leaf is to show that a Black-owned dispensary can be a reliable source of cannabis that can be purchased and consumed safely.

“Many Black people that consume cannabis, may purchase from illegal operations, further exposing us to an illicit market and illegality. 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.”

She said that there is a demand for Black people representation in the cannabis industry and her company contributes to meeting this demand.

“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 got her license for Luxury Leaf after an expensive and lengthy process, as well as passing a state commencement.

Marijuana Business Daily reports 80% of all cannabis businesses are owned by non-Blacks. Blacks and Hispanics barely make up 10% of combined weed businesses.