Black St. Louisans navigate the cannabis industry

Adrienne Scales-Williams is a rare African American owner of a marijuana dispensary.Her Forest Park Southeast shop sits next to a used car dealership. The blindingly white fa├žade reads "Luxury Leaf" in black cursive, an homage, she says, to the iconic black-and-white logos of Chanel and Saks Fifth Avenue.

"Most people who know me," Scales-Williams says, "know that I like sophistication."

But the Normandy native didn't start out in cannabis. She began her career at Xerox as a supply account manager, before running a document printing and management company. She then worked for casino companies before getting into the legal weed business, a move inspired by her mother's descent into illness years before.

"My mother had pancreatic cancer, and at the end, she didn't want to eat," she says. "At the time, marijuana was not medically legal. I wanted to get some for her, and I couldn't."

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