In 2018, Missouri voters amended the state’s constitution to allow medical cannabis. The amendment, which passed by 66 percent to 34 percent, allows patients who have approval from their physician to receive identification cards from the state to grow marijuana plants and/or purchase at least six ounces of cannabis from a dispensary.
Under the law, doctors can recommend marijuana to patients as they deem fit. In addition, state regulators will issue licenses for medical marijuana dispensaries, as well as cultivation, testing and infused product manufacturing businesses, Forbes reported in 2018.
Since the acceptance of medical cannabis and cultivation, AP reports that medical marijuana sales in Missouri have reached a milestone, now topping the $200 million mark. Fourteen months after sales started, 158,169 patients are active in the state’s medical marijuana program, along with 3,283 caregivers.
Despite the booming nature of the business, there is a lack of Black participation. According to the Missouri Medical Cannabis Trade Association, there are 192 dispensaries in the state, and none are owned by a Black entrepreneur. However, that will change next year.
From January 2022, Adrienne Scales-Williams will become the state’s first Black person to own a cannabis dispensary when she launches Luxury Leaf. This was after she received a license to open her medical cannabis dispensary.
“Business is commonly filled with men, and even with my understanding of this, I didn’t focus on that as a negative. I kept my focus and pushed full force throughout all of my endeavors,” Scales-Williams told stlamerica.
Aside from receiving her license, her location also had to pass a state commencement. “I have been committed to the process and just stuck with it as closely as I could,” she told stlamerica. “Being a long-term entrepreneur, I understand the ups and downs of highly regulated industries.”
Apart from the cannabis business, Scales-Williams owns Document Imaging Systems of St Louis, Inc., (DIS). Her business placed 23rd on The St. Louis Business Journal list of minority-owned businesses last year.
The success of her Document Imaging System makes her not a stranger to entrepreneurial success. Obtaining the dispensary license tells of her resilience, business acumen and what players in the cannabis industry should look out for.
Scales-Williams said she ventured into cannabis because she is an advocate for alternative medicines and wants to be a part of a culture that promotes plants in healing.
“It was natural for me to want to invest in something so innovative and great for patients,” she said. “Every business requires that you be agile and turn to technology. The cannabis industry is forcing our traditional medical structures to rethink and embrace this ancient healing technology. “