On Election Day 2018, Missourans voted to use medical marijuana, and the decision was formally enshrined in the state constitution.

for Adrienne Scales-Williams, an advocate for alternative medicine, this was an opportunity to represent black people in the cannabis industry. Your new company — Luxury sheet edition— helps meet this need.

According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, there are 192 registered dispensaries in the state, and none of them are owned by black people. These statistics will no doubt change with the upcoming soft-opening of Scales-Williams’ locally owned independent cannabis retail boutique on January 21st. As detailed on its website, Luxury Leaf is a must see. Located in the eclectic neighborhood of The Grove in St. Louis, it offers an “upscale, comfortable vibe.”

Photo credit: Adrienne Scales-Williams

“I am an advocate of alternative medicine and want to be part of a culture that promotes plants for healing. I want to invest in something so innovative and so great for patients,” Scales-Williams told The St. Louis American. “I want patients to feel healed when they enter the pharmacy,” she added.

Throughout her venture, Scales-Williams wanted to be part of the solution to responding to the many horror stories she was hearing about the side effects and addiction of painkillers. She knew that if she branched out into the cannabis industry, those experiences would be avoided entirely.

In an interview with Travel Noire, Scales-Williams stated, “Medical cannabis has proven to be a safe and effective pain management option. Cannabis has marginalized so many black people and continues to create barriers within the legal system and industry. We hope to inspire others in the industry by being the first black owned pharmacy to open in the state of Missouri.”

As the owner of Document Imaging Systems of St. Louis, Inc., (DIS), a minority-owned company, 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 of cannabis that is safe to purchase and consume.

“Many black cannabis users may be buying from illegal establishments, further exposing us to an illegal market and illegality,” she told travel magazine. Having a place that is For Us, By Us can ensure quality is maintained and the plant is educated about wholesome consumption and upholding legality.”

Understanding black people’s experiences with cannabis is imperative. Scales-Williams, committed to keeping education at the forefront of the industry, intends to offer virtual classes and encourage engagement within the St. Louis community.

“This industry has benefited from black and brown people and it is imperative that black cannabis companies are representative. Due to cannabis’ long history of being illegal, stigma remains a struggle. To educate black people that cannabis is a safe, effective and legal form of medicine. Ongoing training will help to master this challenge.”

Scales-Williams obtained their Luxury Leaf license after an expensive and lengthy process. She also had to pass a state intake for her location.