Meet The First Black Woman to Own a Legal Cannabis Store in BK – BK Reader

Matawana Dispensary, Brooklyn’s first legal cannabis store owned by a Black woman, opened to much fanfare in late February, with many city officials, including Mayor Eric Adams, beaming for the ribbon cutting ceremony.

But for owner Leeann Mata, a formidable and friendly woman who declined a reporter’s handshake in favor of a bear hug upon meeting, being ‘the first’ takes a backseat as she must now focus on running a successful — and chill — dispensary.

“We the Matas you wanna vibe with, we the Matas you wanna smoke with, so Matawana,” she chuckled as she explained the name of her store. 

​Nestled on Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in Park Slope, Matawana boasts a relaxed atmosphere. The store’s layout is a blend of contemporary office space and the homey, retro living room vibe.

When Mata found the ideal location for her store, she sat outside on the sidewalk for hours, watching the traffic go by and imagining that each person was a potential customer. 

Yet obtaining her cannabis license was a complex process, she said, spanning months of filing and paperwork proving that her family had been negatively impacted by the war on drugs.

Mata’s father, Harold Edwards, had been assaulted by

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