(This story has been updated to reflect that Thomas was awarded a new license by the state.)
Marijuana entrepreneur Marvina Thomas is the first Black woman to own a legal cannabis store in Arizona.
Thomas, who also owns and operates a legal marijuana outlet in Las Cruces, New Mexico, “entered into an agreement to operate and acquire” the Arizona Wellness Center in Safford, spokesperson Sadie Thompson told MJBizDaily.
That permit was one of six new licenses issued earlier this month, Thompson said.
David Fowler, co-founder and executive director of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association of Arizona (MITA-AZ) , confirmed to MJBizDaily that Thomas is the first Black marijuana store owner in the state.
Thomas’ Fourtwenty Collections in Safford is scheduled to open April 20, Thompson said.
“It has always been my dream to become the first black, women owned, Arizona dispensary,” Thomas said in a statement.
“We are excited to inspire others to reach for the stars and have made history with our acquisition of the Safford license.
“We look forward to becoming a part of the community there.”
There currently is only one licensed marijuana store in Safford, and that is one of only 131 retailers in the state, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
A registered nurse and native of South Central Los Angeles, Thomas launched Fourtwenty Collections in 2016 with a line of CBD-infused soap.
Her Las Cruces shop opened in December 2022.
Thomas is a double rarity in a cannabis industry that’s still overwhelmingly white and male.
Nationally, only 22.2% of marijuana businesses are owned by women, according to MJBizDaily‘s 2022 report, “Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in the Cannabis Industry.”
Nonwhite people comprise only 15.4% of cannabis business owners, down from 20.7% in 2021.