ST. LOUIS – The first marijuana dispensary in downtown St. Louis opens across the street from the police station and new soccer stadium.

Viola STL is owned by former NBA players Al Harrington, Larry Hughes, Abe Givens, and Dan Pettigrew. As a minority-owned dispensary, the owners shared that it not only creates more jobs, but also diversity and inclusion.

“Historically cannabis has been used to destroy the black community,” Harrington expressed. “Some 85% of the drug arrests in the black community for the past 40 or 50 years have been in the black community have been cannabis related. Only 4% of these companies are owned by blacks”

Viola STL has plans for more than 200 jobs between its downtown location and another one on Towa Street in the historic Cherokee Shopping District.