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First Black-owned marijuana dispensary opens in south St. Louis

Owner Adrienne Scales-Williams, who recently opened Luxury Leaf in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, wants to help educate people about the plant's benefits.

ST. LOUIS — One of the first Black-owned medical marijuana dispensaries in Missouri opened in St. Louis on Saturday, and educating people about the plant's benefits is just one of the goals for St. Louis native and entrepreneur Adrienne Scales-Williams.

"Normalizing, decriminalizing and just make it a natural thing for people to take," she said.

Inside the glass cases and counters at Luxury Leaf on Vandeventer Avenue in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood, shoppers will find medicinal flowers, creams, edibles and vape pens.

"We're able to reach each person based on the best way for them to consume the cannabis plant," Scales-Williams said.

The goal is to reach veterans like Damon Hinton who suffered nerve damage in his back and leg while serving in the military. He needed an alternative to opioids.

"It doesn't affect your kidneys, it doesn't go through your bloodstream the same way. It just really helps the nervous system and so forth," Hinton said.

Besides its medical advantage, there's more to this moment than just the medical advantage.

About 600 people in the St. Louis spent time behind bars for marijuana-related charges in the last three years. Nearly 500 were Black, according to the St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones.

Jones said the new space was just an example of the community and its people trying to increase the local economy and change the narrative of what the plant can do.

"Let's have a hard conversation about how we're continuing to lock people out of opportunities because that doesn't make our city safer," Jones said.

She signed Board Bill 132 at the end of 2021. The bill decriminalizes marijuana possession and cultivation for adults, and ensures positive growth for everyone.

"Do the work here. Work hard. You can succeed. and  that the city is behind you," Jones said.

Shoppers will need a green Missouri-issued medical marijuana patient ID card to purchase products at Luxury Leaf. Items with CBD do not require documentation.

More than 15 people signed up to get their patient ID cards on Saturday.

Luxury Leaf is open Tuesday-Saturday from 12-6 p.m.

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