Of the 192 state-licensed dispensaries, only two will be owned by an African-American.
The owner of both cannabis stores, Larry Hughes, is a retired NBA player. He is working with his former teammate, Al Harrington, who is CEO of Viola brands. The company’s sole focus is “to empower minority ownership by creating a coalition of minority investors who own and operate Viola.”
Hughes, 41, played for nine teams during a 14-year career: the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Washington Wizards, Cleveland Cavaliers, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Bobcats and Orlando Magic. He attended Saint Louis University before he was selected in the 1998 NBA draft.
For more information on why this lack of black business owners is a problem, check at St. Louis Public Radio’s in-depth interview with cannabis activist Marne Madison