ViolaSTL, a cannabis dispensary outlet, is serving medicinal patients at its 2001 Olive Street location and is the only African American owned shop in the downtown St. Louis area.
Dan Pettigrew, managing partner, and Jamil Taylor, director of operations, has a third teammate on the ViolaSTL ownership team — former SLU and NBA star Larry Hughes.
Pettigrew and Taylor celebrated the store’s debut on Monday afternoon, and several customers stopped by before its doors were officially open.
“We want to be in urban areas,” said Pettigrew, who along with Taylor opened dispensaries in downtown Detroit and Chicago.
“A lot of these area are underserved, and Black ownership is important because few dispensaries are owned by African Americans.”
Pettigrew said he and his partners’ zeal to open dispensaries is based on past law enforcement efforts that “targeted certain people.”
The American Civil Liberties Union found in a 2020 analysis that Black people are 3.64 times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana possession, even though Black and white people use marijuana at similar rates.
It is also a lucrative business, especially since Missouri has legalized recreational marijuana use.
Marijuana Business Daily, an industry newsletter, estimates that retail marijuana sales will have reached $33 billion when final totals are